Food As Fuel: Collateral Damage


Rail cars full of wheat; From Photo Essay by Dan Koeck for The New York Times

Read these two stories together:

1. New York Times on A Global Need for Grain That Farms Can't Fill: "Wheat prices have doubled in the last six months. Corn is on a tear. Barley, sunflower seeds, canola and soybeans are all up sharply.... Everywhere, the cost of food is rising sharply. A tailor in Lagos, Nigeria, named Abel Ojuku said recently that he had been forced to cut back on the bread he and his family love. "If you wanted to buy three loaves, now you buy one," Mr. Ojuku said.

2. The Guardian: US dumping of biofuels will ruin us, says UK firm The US is flooding Europe with subsidised biofuels that threaten to destroy Europe's domestic refining market. "Imports of heavily subsidised biodiesel fuel from the US, so-called B99, have eroded margins to the point where we have no choice but to consider how to reduce operating costs...."If you believe in free trade, this isn't a fair market." He feels it is unlikely that the US will end subsidies to its powerful farming lobby in an election year.

So people starve because the American government subsidizes soybean growers to make biofuels which are then exported at below manufacturing costs. It all makes so much sense.