US small farmers think biofuels won’t hit the world’s poor

Ethanol production has had a profound impact on U.S. agriculture in recent years. Now that more than two billion bushels of U.S. corn are used for ethanol production, a legitimate
question is continually being asked—are people going hungry due to the seemingly insatiable U.S. demand for fuel? This paper looks at the relationship, not a question, posed by me but, by small American farmers in the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. I think that the IATP makes some valid points, there are one or two things in its conclusions that I take issue with:

The IATP says:

First of all, a negligible volume of U.S. corn is exported to undernourished populations.

Surely some of it is sold to the UN and other agencies at knockdown prices and that is used ot feed the poor through food aid.

The IATP says:

Second, while a rise in the price of corn and other agricultural commodities can adversely impact food prices, it also provides more opportunity for subsistence farmers around the world that have been devastated by depressed global commodity prices.

That is true only if the produce from those farmers has fair and equal access to markets in the developed world and the US in particular…

The IATP says:
Third, many of the issues of hunger and poverty that are attributed to biofuels are more appropriately linked to structural problems of corporate concentration and inequalities in agricultural trading systems.

See my response to point two, but it is also a function of corruption in countries where civil society is weak.

I’ll be examingin the IATP’s responses to the US Farm Bill 2007 next

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