Thursday, 26 June 2008

Biofuels pushing up food prices and poverty, Oxfam says

BRUSSELS: Biofuels are responsible for 30 percent of the increase in global food prices, pushing 30 million people worldwide into poverty, the aid agency Oxfam said in a report Wednesday.
The use of biofuels is soaring as developed countries try to reduce their dependence on imported oil and cut emissions of carbon dioxide, but critics say they have led to a shortage of grain, pushing up commodity prices.
"Rich countries' demands for more biofuels in their transport fuels are causing spiraling production and food inflation," said Rob Bailey, an Oxfam biofuel policy adviser, who wrote the report. "Grain reserves are now at an all-time low."
Oxfam called on rich countries to dismantle subsidies for biofuels and reduce tariffs on imports.
"Rich countries spent up to $15 billion last year supporting biofuels while blocking cheaper Brazilian ethanol, which is far less damaging for global food security," the report said.

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