Biofuel Crops Cause Food Shortages In Third World

April 21, 2008 at 1:28 pm 1 comment

The mixed blessings of biofuel are increasingly becoming an embarrassment for rich countries whose increased demand for crops which are used for its creation are causing massive price hikes of food in the Third World. Food shortages in countries like Haiti, Egypt and the Philippines are directly linked to biofuel mandates in the US and the European Union.

The Wall Street Journal quotes a study by the World Bank in an article today which asserts that wheat and rice prices this year will have doubled from 2004 levels.

Food inflation has sparked riots in various countries around the globe in recent months. In Haiti some nine people were killed during the riots in recent weeks. The cause of the price hikes is largely the growth of corn crops which almost entirely goes to US biofuel production purposes. “It’s no coincidence that the U.S. and the EU, which are leading the biofuel charge, both have powerful ag[ricultural] lobbies that see this latest eco-craze as a new way to milk taxpayers”, the Wall Street Journal writes. “U.S. and EU promotion of biofuels represent a trifecta of bad regulation: arbitrary production targets to juice demand, subsidies that encourage inefficient use of crops as fuel rather than food, and tariffs that stifle foreign competition. If only Third World consumers had the same influence as rich-world farmers.”

Earlier this month, the European Environment Agency called for a reduction of the EU’s 10% target for bio fuel by 2020. This is the first sign that top policy makers are beginning to notice that there is a link between biofuel and food shortages. And a few weeks back, the World Bank chief Robert Zoellick said that the rising food prices is threatening to throw 100 million people back into poverty, after having turned in promising economic gains for the past seven years.

The Bank, itself often blamed for increasing rather than decreasing world poverty, blames the ‘green’ policies of Western countries for such serious problems as poverty, famine and violence. “Poverty, famine and violence are among the supposed products of global warming in the future. Yet these calamities are with us today thanks to a key element of “green” policy, biofuels. This feel-good measure is becoming a real-world disaster”, according to the report.

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Entry filed under: Green News.

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