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BERLIN (Reuters) - Bad agricultural policies and changing eating habits in developing nations are primarily to blame for rising food prices, not biofuel production as some critics claim, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.
Environmentalists and humanitarian groups have stepped up campaigning against biofuels, arguing they divert production away from food and animal feed while contributing to sharp rises in the price of cereals and milk products.
But Merkel, whose country is Europe's largest biofuel producer, said the rise in food prices was not mainly due to biofuels but to "inadequate agricultural policies in developing countries" as well as "insufficient forecasts of changes in nutritional habits" in emerging markets.
"People are eating twice a day, and if a third of one billion people in India do that, it adds up to 300 million people. That's a large part of the European Union,"
"And if they suddenly consume twice as much food as before and if 100 million Chinese start drinking milk too, then of course our milk quotas become skewed, and much else too,"