Blaming Biofuels for Higher Food Prices One-Sided

Joanna Schroeder

In an effort to curb global rising food prices and food insecurity concerns, members of G20 nations will be meeting in Paris this week. A major focal point of discussion is set to be biofuels and earlier this month a report from Oxfam concluded that biofuels were part of the reason food prices are rising. The ethanol industry deems this view one-sided and has pointed out on numerous occasions, including today, that the report along with most arguments, fail to take into account the role global oil prices and market speculation play in the issue.

“It may be vogue for certain groups to blame biofuels for global hunger issues as though they didn’t exist before biofuel production, but that doesn’t mean eliminating biofuels policies will somehow put more food on the plates in developing nations,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice President for Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper.

Cooper continued, “Exorbitant oil prices, excessive speculation in commodities markets, recent weather events, and host of other issues all play more significant roles in determining the price and availability of food than does biofuel production. As numerous reports have noted, bioenergy production can provide the catalyst many nations need to invest in agricultural technology, thus improving productivity, food security and their own energy stability.”

RFA considers the report incomplete and unbalanced and is asking G20 to “reject its findings” and request a revision of the report that takes into account a broader range of factors that contribute to food price swings. RFA would also like the report to include comments from stakeholders as well as consider other literature available on the subject. Finally, Cooper says that the call to abandon biofuel production is shortsighted and ignores the contributions it can offer including food and energy security.

biofuels, Ethanol, RFA