Biofuels and the crisis in global food production

By Dr Celia Prussia & Dr Simon Harris, The Guardian:

George Monbiot’s article (Must the poor go hungry just so the rich can drive?, 13 August) notably and commendably acknowledges the impact of increasing world cereal prices. It is important to understand that this is a necessary market response to a worldwide reduction in grain production. The cure for high prices is high prices.

Government restrictions and bans on grain exports to keep domestic food prices down have a far greater impact on global food prices thanbiofuels. This short-sighted approach fails to support the much-needed financial investment in farming in those countries and allow for the necessary production response. Simply, national market intervention creates an international mismatch in grain price and availability. Biofuels provide a further market for grains at around 1.5% of global demand, but they have been singled out as a scapegoat for price spikes.

We need to keep these things under review, but simplistic calls for the removal of existing biofuels targets threaten to remove any stability and certainty within the market, and would risk increased volatility and reduced global production… Read more

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