How the rich starved the world

World cereal stocks are at an all-time low, food-aid programmes have run out of money and millions face starvation. Yet wealthy countries persist with plans to use grain for petrol.

The irony is extraordinary. At a time when world leaders are expressing grave concern about diminishing food stocks and a coming global food crisis, our government brings into force measures to increase the use of biofuels – a policy that will further increase food prices, and further worsen the plight of the world’s poor.

What biofuels do is undeniable: they take food out of the mouths of starving people and divert them to be burned as fuel in the car engines of the world’s rich consumers. This is, in the words of the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, nothing less than a "crime against humanity".

Next year, the use of US corn for ethanol is forecast to rise to 114 million tonnes – nearly a third of the whole projected US crop. American cars now burn enough corn to cover all the import needs of the 82 nations classed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as "low-income food-deficit countries". There could scarcely be a better way to starve the poor.  ttp://www.newstatesman.com/200804170025 

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