Over on Greenbang, there’s an interesting comment on the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s latest thoughts on biofuels and the spike they are causing in agricultural commodity prices.
Its worth reading the report on Regan Suzuki’s comments on the effects that biofuels could have in terms of the competition for agricultural land, water and human rights.
The FAO is very much on the side of poor farmers and quite right too.
For what it’s worth I think, the development of biofuels must be done with the free informed consent of the current land holders and tennants.
If it is then there is a chance that these poor farmers will be able to grow cash crops that will be used to make fuel for developed countries. That extra income could enable them to move away from the poverty associated with subsistence farming and build a coalition of need between the poor and the rich. (making the poor richer in the process).
This will only work though if there is a free and open market in biofuels, and providing we can manage the transition. In the short term I think that it will be difficult because of the low level of grain reserves.