Hunger Byproduct of Rising Ethanol Production

Jacques Diouf, director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said the cereal-import bill for the poorest countries is expected to rise 56 per cent this year, on top of the 37 per cent recorded last year.

"There is certainly a risk of [people] dying of starvation" unless urgent action is taken, he said.

Rising ethanol demand is one of the main reasons why Wall Street securities firm Goldman Sachs predicts high food prices for a long time. "We believe the recent rise in agriculture prices is not a transient spike, but rather represents the beginning of a structural increase in prices, much as has occurred in the energy and metals markets," Jeffrey Currie, Goldman's chief commodities analyst, said in a research note last month.

Dr. Peter Hazell, a former World Bank principal economist, said that filling an SUV tank once with ethanol consumes more maize than the typical African eats in a year.

[Excerpt of an article by Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail]

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