People & Power – Global Crisis: Food Shortages/Biofuels 2008 04 20 (Al-jazeera) avi
The US is the world's largest biofuel producer
One of these reasons for the world food crisis is Biofuels. The IMF estimates that corn ethanol production accounted for at least half the rise in world corn demand in each of the past three years.
In his film Food or Fuel, which aired last September, Bob Abeshouse explained how their production can lead to food shortages.
The production of ethanol from corn is expanding massively in the US, hailed as a way to combat global warming and energy dependency.
But some experts argue that the ethanol boom is driving up world food prices, putting additional pressures on low-income countries that import food.
One study predicts there could be as many as 600 million more chronically hungry people in the world by 2025 as a result of the biofuels expansion.
This segment explores the tension between the ethanol push and world food prices, paying particular attention to the tortilla crisis in Mexico in early 2007 that was linked to high corn prices arising from the increased demand for US corn to make ethanol.
Globally, the world multilateral institutions, the World Bank and its twin institution the IMF, have come up with a "New Plan".
They are calling on richer nations to contribute $500 million to ease the burden and have decided on a joint action plan.
Samah El-Shahat discusses the role of these organisations and the outcomes of the food crisis with Sir John Holmes, the UN undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination, and Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute.
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News & Current Affairs
Apr 22, 2008, 04:50:24
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