Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Biofuel demand starts to hurt poorest communities

As predicted by many environmentalists recently, the demand for corn (or maize) for biofuel production has started to cause suffering among the poorest of communities. Western demand for biofuel is leading to higher prices and declining food stocks for people in the poorest countries. An example of this is Mexico, where demand for corn in the USA has increased dramatically since president Bush stated his aim that the US produce 35 billion gallons of biofuels by 2017. Corn is a main staple in the Mexican diet, and when the price jumped by 50% there were protests in the streets. The Mexican government had to step in and enforce a price freeze. As demand grows further there are fears that decreased stocks and price rises will create more problems in Mexico. As Doña Catalina, making and selling tortillas from her little shop says "Poor corn..It isn't meant to go in cars. It is meant to feed our children and our grandchildren. And their grandchildren too."

The scale of demand for biofuel crops such as corn is staggering. In the US alone there are already 121 ethanol biorefineries with a 76 under construction. Even so, this will only meet a third of president Bush’s quota of biofuel production. The whole international biofuel production process has to be managed effectively and fairly otherwise it will be another case of the richer developed countries inflicting suffering on the poorest countries to satisfy their own greed.

[Via The Guardian]

1 comment:

Shelley said...

If we only used more organic materials and ate better we would not have such problems as Leaky Gut Syndrome

Thanks for sharing