Let's reduce pressure on world food stuffs as soon as we can.
According to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation in mid December...
Currently 37 countries worldwide are facing food crises due to conflict and disasters. In addition, food security is being adversely affected by unprecedented price hikes for basic food, driven by historically low food stocks, droughts and floods linked to climate change, high oil prices and growing demand for bio-fuels(my emphasis). High international cereal prices have already sparked food riots in several countries.
The FAO also said earlier in December that
Prevailing high international cereal prices, coupled with soaring freight rates and record world fuel prices, have resulted in substantial rises in retail prices of cereal based food staples, such as bread, pasta and tortillas, as well as milk and meat, in countries across the world, generating inflationary pressure on domestic food markets and fuelling social unrest. In the past months, food riots have broken out in such countries as Mexico, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal.
Most affected by the higher cereal prices are those developing countries that depend heavily on imports from the world market to cover their cereal consumption requirements. Poor populations are anticipated to bear the heaviest burden, because their diets consist of a very high proportion of cereals. In addition, the poor spend a higher share of their income on food than do wealthier sections of populations: the most vulnerable groups can spend up to 80 percent of their total expenditures on basic foods alone. As a result, the higher cereal prices are not only leading to the deterioration of their diets in terms of quantity and quality, but also significantly eroding their overall purchasing power.
Governments around the world have implemented a series of policy measures to limit the increase of domestic food prices and prevent consumption from falling, including price controls, subsidies, reduction/waiving of import barriers and imposition of export restrictions. The impact of these measures on the food security of vulnerable households will vary widely and is yet to be assessed.
Yes biofuels may give people the opportunity to use fuel to supplement their income and buy more crops to eat, but they take some time to develop. Enjoy your Christmas lunch.