03 June 2008 12:19 [Source: ICIS news]
By Charles Shaw
LONDON (ICIS news)--The contribution of biofuel production to rising global food prices will be discussed by more than 60 heads of state on Tuesday at a summit in Rome hosted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The US and Brazil will argue that renewable fuels have played a negligible part in driving up the cost of staples such as wheat, sugar and rice. Defenders of biofuels point to higher energy costs and a surge in global consumption as the key triggers of the food crisis.
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Brazilian President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said the suggestion that there was a strong link between ethanol production and the food crisis was an “affront”.
However, other organisations such as Oxfam say that a spike in biofuel demand is responsible for 15-30% of food price increases.
Also, large biofuel-producing nations have been criticised for the subsidies they have provided for ethanol and biodiesel crops. The argument is that farmers in less developed countries cannot compete in the global market.
“Food stocks are at their lowest in 25 years, so the market is very vulnerable to any policy changes”, said Frederic Mousseau to the Associated Press.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon will request that the
The lack of consensus on the precise contribution of renewable fuels to food price rises was thought likely to hinder any agreement on the reduction of subsidies, however.
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