ActionAid has launched a report for the G20 summit showing how Europe's demand for biofuels could drive up food crop prices by as much as 36% by 2020, helping to push millions more into hunger.
Here in the UK we are all feeling the pinch at the moment as we notice food prices increase and the weekly shop getting more expensive. However, for poor families in less developed parts of the world the rise in food prices is having an even greater effect on their lives because most of their daily household budget goes on food, so even a small price rise will have a big impact.
Meet Jewo Jallow, a mother of 5 from The Gambia, Africa. She is currently experiencing the devastating effects of crop failure, caused by drought. The resulting food crisis is being aggravated by rising food prices. She is seeing the impacts of rising food prices on her family first hand – she says 'I spend any little money I have on food for the family and the type of food provided is usually of poor quality' and that 'sometimes I would go without food to allow my children to eat'. With the rising cost of food, she knows her children’s education will be affected and fears they will be driven away from school because of not having enough money to pay school fees.
And Jewo Jallow is not alone. Across Africa almost half the population live on less than 80p a day and in The Gambia on average 60% of their income is spent on food. So rising food prices for key staple foods will not only impact the amount and the variety of food mothers like Jewo Jallow can buy for her family, it will also have an immediate impact on whether they can then afford their children’s school fees and health care.
Biofuel targets set by the EU will lead directly to an increase in the prices of key food crops worldwide by 2020. As ActionAid’s new 'picture story' illustrates EU support for biofuels could push the price of vegetable oils up by as much as 36%, maize (corn) by as much as 22% and wheat by as much as 13%.
EU leaders meeting at the G20 should take a lead in agreeing to end support for biofuels.
And you can help! If you think the EU should end its support for biofuels, click here to sign the petition.