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Friday, July 04, 2008

The first real economic crisis of globalisation?

Bit by bit the panorama gets clearer an clearer on the papers for everybody that the "food crises" is not mainly due to climate change, but for geo-economics speculations and land production allocation incentives.

Here´s some quote of the news from http://www.guardian.co.uk/ about it.


Biofuels 'prime cause' of food crisis


Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report (made by senior economist Don Mitchell).


The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises.


Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank.


The news comes at a critical point in the world's negotiations on biofuels policy. Leaders of the G8 industrialised countries meet next week (July 08) in Hokkaido, Japan, where they will discuss the food crisis and come under intense lobbying from campaigners calling for a moratorium on the use of plant-derived fuels.


"Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises," said Robert Bailey, policy adviser at Oxfam.


"Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," says the report. The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140% between 2002 and this February.


The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of only 15%, while biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump over that period.


It argues that production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three main ways:


- First, it has diverted grain away from food for fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel.


- Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production.


- Third, it has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher.


Other reviews of the food crisis looked at it over a much longer period, or have not linked these three factors, and so arrived at smaller estimates of the impact from biofuels. But the report author, Don Mitchell, is a senior economist at the Bank and has done a detailed, month-by-month analysis of the surge in food prices, which allows much closer examination of the link between biofuels and food supply.


The report points out biofuels derived from sugarcane, which Brazil specializes in, have not had such a dramatic impact.

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