The UK faces ever-increasing food prices as it follows the USA down the pro-biofuels route, warns ActionAid.
A US law requiring an increasing amount of ethanol (a type of biofuel) to be contained in petrol means that 40% of America’s corn crop is being turned into fuel instead of food.
As the US corn belt is hit by a crop-destroying drought, the amount of corn left over for food and feed is being severely diminished. Prices of corn and soy are rocketing, and wheat prices are expected to follow.
“Almost half of all the corn grown in America ends up in fuel tanks instead of on the breakfast table”, says ActionAid policy adviser Clare Coffey.
A third of the world’s corn, soy and wheat comes from the US. As prices soar, countries like South Korea and Indonesia - which are heavily dependent on these staples – are being infected by the crisis.
The UK is not immune, with rising animal feed costs pushing up the price of chicken, beef and pork, putting them out of reach of ordinary people.
ActionAid believes that the US catastrophe should sound alarm bells in Whitehall, as the UK considers how to go forward with its own biofuel mandates.
Coffey continues: “We are living in a world where fuel trumps food; where governments are more concerned with energy security than with food security, insisting on crops being used to fill petrol tanks instead of stomachs. And the effects of this are felt around the world, hitting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable the hardest."
“Biofuel mandates must be removed.”