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Food Prices and Biofuels.

April 25th, 2008 · Greg Atkinson · No Comments

You have to love the tree hugging environmentalists, now that they have convinced most people the earth is getting warmer because of human activity they are now out to ruin the biofuel industry which is curious, as environmentalists use to be happy with the concept of renewable fuel sources.

And what is the reason for their ill will towards biofuels…well it is because many of them now say biofuels are driving up food prices since there is less land now for growing food and hence we get into the supply and demand argument:  more demand, less supply = higher prices.

Now let’s be clear about one thing, the biofuel industry if managed correctly (as it is in most developed countries) is not a major threat to food supply and will not result in people starving to death. A few more serious issues are:

1. Drought. Droughts tend to put fairly big dent in food production. For example Australia has been suffering from one of the worst periods of drought in recorded history and as a result food production in Australia has been significantly decreased. Storms, fires and floods etc also cause havoc to farms and food production.

2. Poor farming practices. There are many regions in the world (many parts of Africa for example) that produce far less food than is possible due to poor farming practices. I am not blaming the farmers, they often just do not have access to things like fertilisers, water pumps and presticides etc. In other areas over farming has caused desertification and again this reduces or ceases food production in affected areas. (type desertification into Google and you will see what a problem it is)

3. War and Civil Strife. Many countries have farms that have been destroyed by rebels or lie idle due to civil unrest. Food production for example in Zimbabwe has been significantly reduced since their deranged dictator has been at the helm. In Afghanistan farmers seem to prefer growing opium poppies to food.

As you will no doubt realise, none of the above have anything to do with biofuels or the making of biofuels. So rather than environmentalists being critical of a promising alternative fuel source that could help satisfy our future energy needs maybe we should all focus on mitigating, as best we can, some of the issues mentioned above.


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