The main goal of the promotion of crop production for non-food purposes is to provide important new markets for farmers in the European Union. Developing this sector has the potential to bring enormous social, economic and environmental benefits.
The European farming sector today is under increasing pressure, with globalisation and liberalisation of national and international markets making it very difficult for European farmers to compete with countries producing at a lower cost. As this trend continues, farmers will find it more difficult to forge a decent income and the least competitive producers will be forced out of the sector. This will not only have major economic and social implications but will also lead to a decrease of land used for food production.
It is within this context that the promotion of crops for non-food purposes provides major opportunities.
This report highlights existing mechanisms in place and stresses the importance of increasing the support for research and development in nonfood crop technology to enhance the potential and the efficiency of the industry, suggesting that the emphasis should be put on the most viable bioenergy projects, which are most likely to contribute to the rural economy, and which demonstrate the ability of biomass to contribute significantly to European energy demands.