VIDAL, John. Looming food crisis due to biofuel

John Vidal is a writer with the UK Guardian newspaper (see: ).


John Vidal on the looming food crisis due to biofuel (2007): “The era of "agrofuels" has arrived, and the scale of the changes it is already forcing on farming and markets around the world is immense. In Nebraska alone, an extra million acres of maize have been planted this year, and the state boasts it will produce 1bn gallons of ethanol. Across the US, 20% of the whole maize crop went to ethanol last year. How much is that? Just 2% of US automobile use... The scale of the change is boggling. The Indian government says it wants to plant 35m acres (140,000 sq km) of biofuel crops, Brazil as much as 300m acres (1.2m sq km). Southern Africa is being touted as the future Middle East of biofuels, with as much as 1bn acres (4m sq km) of land ready to be converted to crops such as Jatropha curcas (physic nut), a tough shrub that can be grown on poor land. Indonesia has said it intends to overtake Malaysia and increase its palm oil production from 16m acres (64,000 sq km) now to 65m acres (260,000 sq km) in 2025… But the surge in demand for agrofuels such as ethanol is hitting the poor and the environment the hardest. The UN World Food Programme, which feeds about 90m people mostly with US maize, reckons that 850m people around the world are already undernourished. There will soon be more because the price of food aid has increased 20% in just a year. “ [1].


John Vidal, “The looming food crisis”, Guardian, 29 August 2007: .