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Biofuels may cause famine

The Soil Association warned last week, at its annual conference, that converting more land from food to biofuel production could raise the risk of future famines. Peter Melchett said:

“This [expansion in land used for biofuels] sacrifices food security for an illusion of energy security.”

He went on to say that more could be achieved by converting 18% of arable land to organic farming. The trend for biofuels has sparked a food versus fuel debate, with concern that climate change could reduce the amount of agricultural land, coupled with a rise in the demand for food due to population growth.

John Gapper, columnist for the Financial Times, asked whether the biofuel movement is a space race or a gold rush? He suggests:

“The West wants to emulate Brazil, where cars run on ethanol refined from sugar cane. But there is no caneā€¦ [so] arable crops are being taken from people’s mouths and put into their fuel tanks instead.”

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