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Is the Production of Biofuels a Cause for Concern?

There has been much debate recently about whether the increase in the production of biofuels from food crops is causing an increase in food prices. Earlier this year the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development published a report into this issue and various organisations have since given their opinions of the industry.

The United Nations report predicted that biofuels would soak up an increasing amount of wheat from the market and also expressed concerns over deforestation and the fact the small farmers may be pushed out altogether, of particular concern in developing countries. Some groups have been in agreement with the concerns about the impact on food production, with the Italian pasta-makers union mainly blaming the increase in the production of crops for biofuels for the expected increase in the price of durum wheat pasta. Other crops also seem to have been effected with the price of maize, for example, having doubled in the last year.

There are other groups, but, who don’t believe that the production of biofuels is causing a problem. The UK’s National Farmers’ Union has dismissed claims that food prices will increase due to biofuels but feels that, if anything, issues such as unprecedented terrible weather are to blame. In addition, they point out that only 7 to 10 pence of the price of a loaf of bread comes from the wheat with the actual production of the bread and transportation making up a more significant proportion of the price.

With the EU stating that 10% of our fuel must come from biofuels by 2020, this debate is no doubt set to continue. Germany, France and America are already producing honestly substantial quantities of biofuel but the UK is only just starting to go in this direction. As production increases it is likely that environmental, farming and food industry groups will continue to discuss the impact this will ultimately have on consumers’ pockets. But also to be taken into consideration is the fact that biofuel is a viable alternative to oil for powering vehicles. Whilst concerns over biofuel production should certainly be given credence, we must look at the whole picture when considering the alternatives.

Hayley Jones is the Web Marketing Director of UK Energy Saving, uk-energy-saving.com uk-energy-saving.com Information on alternative fuels can be found at uk-energy-saving.com/alternative_fuel.html uk-energy-saving.com/alternative_fuel.html

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