Next to productivity, sustainability is the word being used most often at the World Food Prize symposium this week to talk about what is needed in global production of both food and biofuels.
The National Biodiesel Board formed a sustainability task force earlier this year, and one of the members of that task force is Victoria Carver with the Iowa Soybean Association. She says they are in the process of developing an advisory committee of experts and will be holding a symposium next month on the issue.
Carver attended many of the sessions at the World Food Prize symposium and was pleased with the overall emphasis on biotech crops, which can help increase production while not increasing land use. However, she did challenge a speaker during one session who said that biofuels were responsible were increasing food prices. “Food prices in real terms have come down dramatically in real terms, adjusted for inflation,” she said. “Do we really want to create a paradigm where farmers actually lose value in their product over time? And it’s especially important here at the World Food Prize because they are addressing issues of agriculture in developing countries which is a great economic opportunity there.”
In addition, Carver noted that biofuels have helped keep energy prices lower than they would be otherwise. “We know in this country that the increase in biofuels that’s been stimulated by the Renewable Fuels Standard has resulted in less of an increase in fuel prices than we would have had without it, by 40 cents a gallon,” she said. “I think it’s important that we think critically about the assumption that biofuels are kind of a culprit.”
Listen to an interview with Victoria here:
You can also download the audio with this link:
Victoria Carver interview (mp3)