Opinion: Using crops to feed cars, not people, is reprehensible as war and climate-related food shortages intensify – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – June 18, 2022)


Sometime next year, as the food-price crisis evolves into a food-availability crisis, we may have to choose between feeding our cars and feeding the world’s poor. So far, feeding cars, SUVs and trucks is winning.

Canada, the United States, Europe and other agriculture-rich regions are devoting ever-increasing amounts of their crop land to the feedstock that produces ethanol (made from corn or sugar cane) and biodiesel (generally from canola, soy, sunflower oils and animal fats).

Turning food into fuel was always a morally dubious proposition; now it is a crime against humanity, as the war in Ukraine and the sanctions, embargoes and Black Sea blockades that accompany it raise food prices to unaffordable levels and create shortages in some poor countries. Basic economics says that grinding up food to make fuel both decreases the amount of food that can be exported and raises its price.

The UN’s food price index, produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reached a record high in March before declining marginally in April and May. Wheat prices in May were 56 per cent higher than they were a year ago. Dairy prices rose 17 per cent over a year.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-crops-for-ethanol-not-food-driving-hunger-crisis/