The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

As Drought Worsens, Food Institute Calls on U.S. to Halt Ethanol Production

As Drought Worsens, Food Institute Calls on U.S. to Halt Ethanol Production

A global food crisis may "hit us very soon" as a drought ravages corn crops in the U.S., the world's largest grower, the International Food Policy Research Institute said.

Governments must act to prevent the crisis, Shenggen Fan, director-general of the institute, said today. The U.S. should end its biofuel program that uses 40 percent of its corn output, to boost supplies to meat producers, Fan said. The Washington- based institute, supported by governments and international organizations, is part of the Agricultural Market Information System formed by the United Nations to monitor food costs.

“The major problem is policy,” Fan said today in an interview with Susan Li on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up”. “Biofuel production has to be stopped. That actually pushed global food prices higher and many poor people, particularly women and children, have suffered.”

The price of corn, used in everything from food to livestock feed to sweeteners, surged to a record $8.49 a bushel on Aug. 10 and is up 57 percent since June 15. That helped drive up global food inflation tracked by the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization 6.2 percent in July from a month earlier, the biggest monthly jump since November 2009.

Corn gained as the worst Midwest drought in half a century cut yields in a nation that produced 36 percent of the 2011-2012 world harvest and accounted for 39 percent of global trade in the grain, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ethanol Mandate

Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the FAO, called for a suspension of U.S. government-mandated ethanol production to allow more of the crop to be used for food and livestock feed, the Financial Times reported Aug. 10.

Twenty-five U.S. senators and 156 members of the House of Representatives have called on the Environmental Protection Agency to halt or lower the mandate on how much ethanol the country must use this year and the next.

About 4.5 billion bushels (114.3 million metric tons) of corn was to be used in U.S. ethanol production in the year beginning Sept. 1, the USDA estimates. That’s almost as much as the combined forecast output in Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine, the three biggest shippers after the U.S., and more than global imports of 90.86 million tons estimated by the USDA for the year beginning Oct. 1.

Countries including India and China must release their food stockpiles to help the poor cope with rising costs, and governments must refrain from imposing export bans to prevent a repeat of the global food crisis in 2008, Fan said.

U.S. and French officials plan to hold a conference call in the last week of August to decide whether to organize a meeting of the Group of 20 officials to discuss surging grain and soybean prices, the French Agriculture Ministry said yesterday.

“If we don’t take urgent quick action, another crisis will hit us very soon,” Fan said. “Governments, the global institutions like the FAO, the World Bank, and the G-20 need to monitor the situation, the prices, production, trade and certain policies.”

Copyright 2012 Bloomberg

RELATED ARTICLES

Wind turbines

Why It's Time To Get Real About Energy Security

Hannah Smith, Contributor Energy is Europe’s quiet crisis. While the clamour of failing economies, desperate migrants and political clashes grabs the headlines, energy policy is rarely front-page news, but it should be — the statistics are shocking.

A Closer Look at Fossil and Renewable Energy Subsidies

Susan Kraemer, Contrubutor A new study by the International Monetary Fund puts the total cost of fossil fuel subsidies at approximately $10 million a minute globally, when health costs and environmental degradation are included, never mind the effec...

How to Win Planning Permission for Renewable Energy Projects (and Influence People)

Tildy Bayar, Contributor At Tuesday afternoon’s POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe conference session in Amsterdam, Paul Davison of PR firm Proteus discussed how to best communicate with the public regarding renewable ene...
Egypt flag

Egypt's Renewable Energy Drive Gains Steam

Andrew Burger, Correspondent There's a lot of action in Egypt's rapidly developing solar and renewable energy market space. Nearly 5 GW worth of solar power development agreements have been signed so far this year, while Egypt 's New and Renewable Ene...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Mastering RETScreen® 4 for Clean Energy Project Analysis

Hands-on modeling class using RETScreen 4. Michael Ross designed this co...

CIREC WEEK

Chile is still considered to be one of the world’s hottest m...

Renewables and Mining Summit and Exhibition

African mining leaders are seriously exploring new energy solutions to s...

COMPANY BLOGS

Substrate Feeder for Biogas Facilities

RUD manufactures complete, ready-to-use conveyor systems for transportin...

US Energy Grid Review Finds Needed Upgrades Would Allow More Solar,...

Yesterday (April 21) the U.S. Department of Energy released the first Qu...

Clean Energy Patents Rise in 2014, Solar Tops others, Toyota and GM...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies in 2014 were again at an all ...

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS