By Annie Shattuck, Food First Policy Analyst
Published in Foreign Policy in Focus
April 17, 2009
Editor: Emily Schwartz Greco
Editor's Note: This commentary was adapted from the report "Why the Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act will Fail to Curb Hunger," by Annie Shattuck and Eric Holt-Giménez. (Food First Policy Brief No. 18. Institute for Food and Development Policy. Oakland, California.)
July 29, 2008
By Eric Holt-Giménez,
Executive Director, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy
Reports of a recently-leaked World Bank paper indicating agrofuels contribute up to 75% to food price inflation contrasts with the shifting figures presented by the USDA; 2% or 10%, depending on who is talking that day. However, for people living on less than $2 a day, any figure between these wide-ranging estimates is enough to push them from malnutrition to starvation. For the poor, a pinch of agrofuels is as bad as a pound.
Eric recently gave a talk at the May, 2008 Planet Diversity Conference in Bonn, Germany entitled: “The Agrofuels Transition: Industrial Transformation of our Food Systems.” The Powerpoint slide show from that talk is available for download HERE (file is 20 megabytes).
This week's headlines are ablaze with reports of food riots. Seemingly overnight, the world went from cheap food and surpluses to food prices spiking 80% and countries banning exports of food in an attempt to stave off shortages.
by Raj Patel and Eric Holt-Giménez
It was just a matter of time… and not long at that. The world food crisis and the explosion of “food riots” across the globe has been turned into an opportunity. By whom? By the same institutions that created the conditions for the crisis in the first place: proponents of the new Green Revolution.
Agrofuels and the inconvenient truths behind the 2007 U.S. Energy Bill
Guerrilla News Network
by Eric Holt-Gimenez and Isabella Kenfield
March 26, 2008
If you are a typical family of four, your food bill likely increased by about $2,400 last year. Why?
FACT: Ethanol is helping drive food prices out of control without lowering the price of gas – Corn planted for ethanol competes for farmland with corn for food production and with other food crops. This drives up the price of all food crops, especially those that contain corn products—which is most of our processed food. Meat is more expensive because our beef cattle eat corn, not grass. Food prices have increased by 25% over last year! Gas prices still went up by 80%...
FACT: Our taxes are used to increase food costs - Without government mandates and subsidies, the ethanol industry would collapse. Last year subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel reached between $5.5 and $7.3 billion. We are paying to have our food prices go up!
FACT: Record high food prices hurt families – A moderate food budget for a family of four costs an average of $46 more per week this year than last. Even if you receive a $600 tax rebate this year, the money won't come close reimbursing your extra food costs due to ethanol production.
Tell the government to stop subsidizing higher food prices! How?
International Herald Tribune
By Eric Holt-Giménez
Published: July 10, 2007
The term "biofuels" suggests renewable abundance: clean, green, sustainable assurance about technology and progress. This pure image allows industry, politicians, the World Bank, the United Nations and even the International Panel on Climate Change to present fuels made from corn, sugarcane, soy and other crops as the next step in a smooth transition from peak oil to a yet-to-be-defined renewable fuel economy.
June 26, 2007
Contact: Marilyn Borchardt at 510-654-4400 ext 234
Letter to the Editor
Victor Davis Hanson's recent column titled The Impending Food Fight illustrates the need to study the potential impacts of the current agro-fuels mania. As Mr. Hanson noted, food prices are rising at the rate of 10 percent per year. Increases in food prices will most heavily burden low-income families, many of whom are already struggling to avoid hunger as reflected in the dramatic increase in clients to food banks and soup kitchens.