Diversification refers to farmers shifting from food production to that of other non-food crops (and also occasionally exotic crops and species, such as deer or ostriches). Crops designed to provide fuels and fibres are the most common options. This can include farm forestry, short rotation coppicing and oil seed rape (for bio-fuels), hemp and flax (for fibres). Other options being pursued include growing herbs for the natural medicines market. Several governments are taking steps to encourage growing bio-fuels as these can displace fossil fuels and assist governments in meeting greenhouse gas emission targets adopted in the Kyoto Protocol. Additional RD benefits can be gained if the processing facilities (e.g. mills for fibres, power plants for coppices) are located within the rural area.

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