Meat is partly to blame for rising food prices

Biofuels have been copped a lot of flack recently for driving up world food prices. About 100m tonnes of maize from this year’s US crop (or about 5% of world production) will be diverted into ethanol refineries. But as this Guardian article points out, two other factors are also forcing up demand for cereals.

For one thing, increased agricultural yields per hectare have started to dip below the rate of population growth (around 1% a year). Secondly, the growing middle class in China are eating a lot more meat. Because cows consume a lot more food than they produce as meat, this has added an extra 200m tonnes of grain per year compared to a decade ago.

As ever, the obstacles are mainly political and social. Technically, the solutions are simple – empowering women in developing nations to reduce population growth, eating less meat, developing second-generation biofuels mainly from waste sources (such as the inedible parts of food crops or food waste) and just driving less.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: