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:
It all sounds to corny to me, hehehe….
As TimesOnline reports, slowly, rioting over food shortages and higher prices has begun.
Population pressure and increased wealth are mainly to blame for the resurgence of food insecurity. More people are eating meat and dairy products in Asia, which increases the demand on the animal-feed industry.
They also talk about how biofuels is threatening world food production.
And in The Star:
Arable-land acreage is indeed shrinking, even factoring out its conversion to production of fuel feedstock. Several million hectares of farmland disappear each year, as growing economies convert it into residential subdivisions and industrial parks. Declining fresh-water supplies further diminish the amount of land available for farming.
Another article which explains why food prices are going up. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Two major trends have been pushing prices up faster than they have risen for more than 30 years. One is that increasingly prosperous consumers in India and China are not only eating more food but eating more meat. Animals have to be fed (grains, usually) before they are butchered. The other is that more and more crops – from corn to palm nuts – are being used to make biofuels instead of feeding people.
An excellent article which reiterates the point, that food prices are going up, because of corn being diverted from human consumption to ethanol production.
Of course, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will be right there saying it’s not their fault.
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”.
Bagels are costing alot more these days. Why? Ethanol subsidies, paid for by our taxes, allow for grain, that normally go towards food and animal feed, to go to ethanol distilleries.
From ENS, “U.S. taxpayers, by subsidizing the conversion of grain into ethanol, are in effect financing a rise in their own food prices. It is time to end the subsidy for converting food into fuel and to do it quickly before the deteriorating world food situation spirals out of control. ”
All this while in Haiti, they’re literally eating dirt, because food prices have gone up.