Thursday, June 7, 2007

Report: US Ethanol Production Will Cause Long-Term Rise in Crop Prices

A new report from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University projects that ethanol demand will cause a long-term increase in crop prices. What's been growing in awareness is that the growing demand for Ethanol is causing a growing demand for Corn. In the U.S. anyway we equate Ethanol production with Corn, even though Corn is one of the most inefficient ways to generate Ethanol. A few months ago there were food riots in Mexico because the peasants could no longer afford to buy tortillas, because the price of corn has risen so high.

There are other ways to generate biofuels besides diverting food to create fuel. There is all sorts of agricultural wastes which can be processed, there are promising experiments with algae and other organisms, and there are specific crops that can be grown on marginal land and which are not normally food crops.

There are other ways than trying to do political gamesmanship. In the U.S. the corn lobby is powerful so politicians wishing to gain favor with that lobby will every so often throw some kind of corn subsidy their way. But if that doesn't solve any problem, then why do it?

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