I’m doing a prerecorded online presentation to the V Congresso Nacional de Alimentos e Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, at 8:00 p.m. on my book Unsavory Truth (Um Verdade Indigesta). Information about the conference is here. It runs from October 4 to 8.
Cassava for biofuels?
According to today’s New York Times, cassava is the new “go to” crop to burn for fuel. Doing this, of course, prices cassava beyond what people can afford:
It can be tricky predicting how new demand from the biofuel sector will affect the supply and price of food. Sometimes, as with corn or cassava, direct competition between purchasers drives up the prices of biofuel ingredients. In other instances, shortages and price inflation occur because farmers who formerly grew crops like vegetables for consumption plant different crops that can be used for fuel.
The Times graph of the increase in use of food for biofuel is sobering:
The rise in food prices has stopped temporarily, but prices are still an astonishing 37% higher than a year ago, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
None of this makes sense to me. We need a sensible food policy and a sensible energy policy.