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  1. Hans Langeveld 7 June 2013 at 09:46 | | Reply

    Flexible resource deployment (food, fuel, biobased) would seem to be an attractive idea, but in my mind it has major consequences for industry (planning, operational management). In fact we already have this situation; in the US and the EU biofuel factories often stop operations if feedstock prices (in particular maize and rapeseed) are too high. If prices fall, they resume operations.
    I would like to make a plea for increased flexibility in growing feedstock for food and other applications. Major price fluctuations mainly occur if the balance between production and demand is broken. This is because either demand rises sharply (e.g. by biofuel production), or production fails (e.g. because of crop failure caused by draught). Many cropping decisions are taken just once a year. We could stimulate fast growing crops in order to even out major fluctuations. If production falls short (or demand rises sharply) we could deploy extra crops at a relatively short notice (e.g. soy or rapeseed after winter wheat in temperate climates, maize as a second crop in Brazil). A program for both research and crop management might be a good idea. To be financed by a small levy on forward contracts of major food crops.

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