The Food vs. Fuel Controversy

A few years ago, the world faced new price highs for a number of food commodities. Generally, increasing biofuel production was blamed responsible for those highs. Although it was proven several times that the growing energy crop production did not and still does not affect food prices, the myth still remains for some reason.

It is to say that the production of energy crops around the world does not shorten food supply. In fact, the global food crop production exceeds the required amount to feed everyone. Again: There’s more food than there’s ever been before, enough for everyone. Hunger and starvation result from inefficient food distribution – it is not the consequence of a lack of food production. In many countries, especially in Europe, farmers still receive incentive payments for non-growing crop! This is basically to keep agricultural products prices stable.

So what is accountable for rising food crop prices?

The World Bank noted in a study on the run up in food prices in 2008 that, “the use of commodities by financial investors have been responsible for the 2007 – 08 spike”. Clearly, speculation and not fundamentals of supply and demand drove prices higher. The exact same phenomenon is coming again in 2011.

Meanwhile, the biofuel industry as well as bioplastic and green chemicals producers have developed new strategies. Energy crops, agricultural residues, forestry residues, algae and other non-food cellulosic materials can now be used as feedstock. And recently, building of the world’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant has begun.

To see “Debunking the Food vs. Fuel Myth” by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association watch the video:


I also recommend reading this article as well as  this article to get more insight into this topic.

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