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Old 8th March 2007, 15:12   #1
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Default As Biofuels boom, will more people go hungry?

Using plants to feed our fuel needs may be a great idea, and the biofuel goldrush could be a moneyspinner for several poor countries, but some experts warn people may go hungry as food prices rise. Fans of biofuels give the impression we could soon be running cars on maize, producing electricity with sugar, and getting power from palm oil.
Even though the biofuel boom is only just beginning, it has already pushed up the cost of staples in places like Mexico where rocketing tortilla prices have sparked angry protests. Some experts foresee a permanent change in food economics if farmers scent higher profit in fuel crops than in growing plants to feed people.

For further reading please follow:
As biofuels boom, will more go hungry? - Yahoo! News

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Old 8th March 2007, 16:07   #2
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It depends on what will be used to produce the biofuels. India reportedly has lot of wastelands where something like Jatropha would do no harm. U.S does it mostly with corn and Brazil with sugarcane which might have a bad effect on foodgrain usage.
With new technologies wherein any cellulose (include waste plant and wood matter) can be converted to biofuel economically, time would come when foodgrains need not be used.
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Old 8th March 2007, 16:57   #3
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People may not go hungry in the long term - the current pinch is felt due to unexpected and an unplanned demand increase in maize. Once goverments start moving over to biofuels, expect rich farmers to multiply with govt aids.

Altho to use maize - which is a food staple as a biofuel is a bit on the extravagant side by the US - when zero-utility plants like jathropa seem to be the logical choice.

Ishan - if you're willing to give the land, I'll give my brand name for our combined jathropa farming thats bound to make us rich beyond our dreams.
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Old 5th March 2010, 02:01   #4
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I remember a certian gentleman discussing the prospect of leasing land in East African countries by Indian companies on a long term. They were leasing thousands of acres to grow staples, maize, sugarcane, fruits even biofuel, all being exported back to India.
These companies farm on a very large scale, have processing and refining plants in those countries itself and have their own fleet of cargo ships to send across the goods to India.

Sounds very interesting, a bit like 18th century colonization, but heck, it would guarantee us energy and food sufficency in the coming years.

It seems India and China are in large scale competition to secure resources in Africa, both the countries actively seeking to almost buy out the smaller African countries for this purpose
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Old 8th March 2010, 19:46   #5
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Most people are surprised when they hear how little space is needed to grow food for an entire family.

Starvation of people is not a problem of running out of potential to grow crops. It is the inability of authorities to organise the logistics.

In the European Union many farmers are paid not to produce crops because they would not be able to sell.

In other places in the world the people have been educated to import stuff rather than grow it themselves.
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Old 10th March 2010, 04:27   #6
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I'm not sure about starvation, but I do know the price of food/produce in general has gone up as a result of biofuels. It is affecting the average wage earner(everyone) every time they buy their food for the family.
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Old 10th March 2010, 11:20   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPP View Post
I'm not sure about starvation, but I do know the price of food/produce in general has gone up as a result of biofuels. It is affecting the average wage earner(everyone) every time they buy their food for the family.
Is the increase in food prices solely (or even largely) due to biofuels? Not quite convinced about this - in fact, it seems to me that if road, rail and sea transportation costs go down as a result of using biofuels, then that might actually have the reverse effect!
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Old 11th March 2010, 10:38   #8
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Originally Posted by ajitkommini View Post
Is the increase in food prices solely (or even largely) due to biofuels? Not quite convinced about this - in fact, it seems to me that if road, rail and sea transportation costs go down as a result of using biofuels, then that might actually have the reverse effect!

Well here in the US, the studies have show it's primarily due to the increase/boom of biofuels for passenger vehicles.

I don't believe biofuels have been harnessed by the transportation industries as much just yet.

Basically at this point, farmers are making more money producing corn etc for biofuels then they were producing produce for human consumption. Thus supply and demand..
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