Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Evil biofuel

There has been a lot of chatter about diversion of crops to biofuels causing a global food shortage. An article in the New York Times by Andrew Martin entitled "Fuel Choices, Food Crises and Finger-Pointing" chronicles some of the debate. The article concludes by informing us:

But August Schumacher, a former under secretary of agriculture who is a consultant for the Kellogg Foundation, said the criticism of biofuels might be misdirected. Development agencies like the World Bank and many governments did little to support agricultural development in the last two decades, he said.

He noted that many of the upheavals over food prices abroad have concerned rice and wheat, neither of which is used as a biofuel. For both those crops, global demand has soared at the same time that droughts suppressed the output from farms.

The simple fact is that we need biofuels. If that means we need to create incentives to increase agricultural production overall, so be it.

Out of curiosity, I wonder what the presidential candidates have to say about all of this. What change would Barack really make?

Maybe we actually do need some incentives to increase farming and agricultural output in this country, especially if we are producing a product that the world needs and demand is rising.

I'd actually like to see some data on U.S. wheat production.

-- Jack Krupansky


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