Pakistan Observer

Ban on biofuels can save world from food crisis: PEW

Saturday, August 18, 2012 - Islamabad—The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said an immediate ban on biofuel production can save the world from looming food crisis which can result in massive malnutrition, starvation, and riots.

The worst drought in 50 years in the US and lack of rains in India and some other countries has left global food market highly vulnerable, it said.

Now, it has become evident that the most advanced agricultural systems are subject to the weather which if become unfriendly can lead to severe grain shocks, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

All the countries especially US should revisit politically attractive policies like reduced dependence on fossil fuel to care for the hungry mouths around the world, he said.

With rise in world prices of cereals, panic, unilateral and uncoordinated actions by different governments as well as competition between the food, feed and fuel sectors is to intensify, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that temporary suspension of biofuel production, relaxing fuel blending rules and discouraging fresh investments in the ethanol production worldwide can boost supplies to people and livestock.

He informed that renewable energy production in the US has reached 15.2 billion gallons which is equivalent of about 40 per cent of total maize production which can be channelled towards food uses.

He said that the current situation is precarious and could deteriorate further if unfavourable weather conditions persist, or governments failed to react properly.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that ethanol-blended fuels account for 12 per cent or nine billion gallons of all automotive fuels sold in the US; every gallon is derived from 12 kg of corn.

Around 350 kg of corn is converted into fuel to fill the tank of a car which is sufficient to feed two persons in any developing country for a year, he said.

He said that America is using 33 per cent of the corn production to make fuel which is satisfying 1.3 per cent of its total oil consumption.

Many countries are perusing biofuels policy at a time when nearly 60 per cent of the world population goes hungry.

Policymakers around the world should reconsider encouraging the biofuels which add to suffering of economies, environment, and the world.—NNI

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