[permaculture] The Food Crunch

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Wed Apr 23 11:15:30 EDT 2008

Here's a good article from Asia Times explaining one aspect of the current 
food crunch:

"The FAO warns that the explosive growth in acreage used to grow fuels and 
not food in the past three years is dramatically changing the outlook for food 
supply globally, and forcing food prices sharply higher for all foods from 
cereals to sugar to meat and dairy products. The use of cereals, sugar, oilseeds 
and vegetable oils to satisfy the needs of a rapidly increasing bio-fuel 
industry, is one of the main drivers, most especially the large volumes of maize in 
the US, wheat and rapeseed in the EU and sugar in Brazil for ethanol and 
bio-diesel production. 

"This is already causing dramatically higher crop prices, higher feed costs 
and sharply higher prices for livestock products. In the US this year according 
to the United States Department of Agriculture, some 25% of the corn crop 
will go to bio-ethanol. 

"Ironically, the current bio-ethanol industry is being driven by US 
government subsidies and a scientifically false belief in the European Union and US 
that bio-ethanol is less harmful to the environment than petroleum fuels and can 
reduce CO-2 emissions. In a Swiss NZZ newspaper interview on March 23, 
Nestle's chief executive Peter Brabeck warned that the dramatic conversion of 
agriculture acreage to bio-fuels in the recent period was "political madness". He 
pointed out that its impact would be seen not only in exploding world wheat 

"Just as serious," he added, bio-fuel production "threatens our water supply. 
In order to produce one liter bio-ethanol we need 4,000 liters water. And 
water is a more serious problem than CO-2 emissions." 


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