Tagged: biofuels

World Bank Report Confirms: Biofuels Behind Food Price Hikes

A leaked report by the World Bank, purportedly confirms that biofuels, not increased demand from India and China, has caused the world’s food prices to increase by 75%.

President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that: “Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases

The news also suggests that the report was finished back in April, but was held back:

Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.

It all sounds to corny to me, hehehe….

Corn Industry Says Don’t Blame Us, Again

Here we go again. The corn industry, this time under the guise of the New Fuels Alliance and FoodPriceTruth.org, are saying that higher food prices, in particular, chicken, are NOT a result of more corn going to corn based biofuels instead of chicken feed.

Yeah, right. Same old story.

More Warnings Of Food Riots

Food Crisis, Riots, Social Unrest

As I said back in March, riots over food prices have begun. In fact, this month in Haiti, the prime minister was ousted over food-related rioting and death.

A recent NYTimes Editorial describes the current situation. Although the rise in food prices are partly a result of “uncontrollable forces — including rising energy costs and the growth of the middle class in China and India”, rich nations are making the problem worse by increasing biofuel production:

The International Monetary Fund estimates that corn ethanol production in the United States accounted for at least half the rise in world corn demand in each of the past three years. This elevated corn prices. Feed prices rose. So did prices of other crops — mainly soybeans — as farmers switched their fields to corn, according to the Agriculture Department.

Rice is a staple for half the world. Rice prices have almost doubled this year, mostly due to countries like India and Vietnam banning the export of certain types of rice. India has tried to control domestic costs by raising the export prices of non-basmati rice. In Thailand, there are reports that about 200,000 tons of rice (worth over $100 million) have gone missing from national warehouses. Since January, thousands of troops have been deployed in Pakistan to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour.

In a world where there are millions of people who are wealthy, smart, and creative, we shouldn’t be rioting over food.

Riots over food shortages and higher prices

Food costs will continue to go up in 2008

Iowa Corn Promotion Board says don’t blame us for rising food prices!

Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Iowa Corn Growers Association are apparently going to launch a consumer-education campaign that says that they are not responsible for food prices going up.

I would partly agree, in that they are not entirely responsible. Of course oil prices, labor costs, transportation costs, etc share some of the blame. But the article ends by advocating the supposedly low extra cost of corn in order to reduce our dependance on foreign oil. [Gee thanks!! So what kind of gas guzzling truck do you drive? ] As more and more farmers switch to growing corn for biofuel rather than food production, food prices have to go up.

Ethanol producers in this country receive a tax credit of 51 cents a gallon, on top of billions of dollars in direct corn subsidies. (In 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available, it was $9 billion.) In Europe biodiesel subsidies can approach $2 a gallon. 

Where does the feed for chicken, pigs, and cattle come from? If farmers can get more money for sending the corn to ethanol distilleries rather than food production facilities, the economics of supply and demand would dictate that food prices would go up. Corn is used everywhere. Less corn for everyday staples, means higher costs for everyday staples.

And as the National Corn Growers Association themselves say, “Ethanol production makes huge amounts of the nation’s corn disappear”.