Well, I mean, they didn’t name me specifically. But just in case anyone thought my post earlier this week about the danger of biofuel from food crops needed some further support, the following story was on the front page of the Globe and Mail today:
Ethanol boom helps fuel global run-up in food prices
Food prices are heating up globally as soaring energy costs, wonky weather and an ethanol boom all combine to push grocery bills higher.
Canadian food prices are 3.1 per cent higher than a year ago, Statistics Canada said yesterday, well ahead of last year’s rate of 2.4 per cent. Higher prices for meat and dairy are the main culprits, but the pickup in prices spills into everything from bread and applies to ice cream, eggs, jam and juice.
The reasons vary with each product, but one factor behind higher prices may be an ethanol boom south of the border, with Canadian chicken and dairy farmers saying they’re seeing higher feed prices.
“Corn and wheat prices are putting upward pressure on food in general,” said Ron Morency, acting chief of Statscan’s consumer price division. “We see that right now in our meat prices.”
…”It’s not going to let up any time soon,” said Adrienne Warren, senior economist at Bank of Nova Scotia. “Short term, it might be weather-related. But longer term, it’s growing demand for food in emerging economies, with growing middle classes and purchasing power, and the global demand for ethanol and biodiesel.”
This month, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said higher demand for biofuels is causing “fundamental changes” to agricultural markets that could drive up prices.
They see “structural changes” under way that could well keep prices for many agricultural products higher over the coming decade.
“We haven’t seen anything on this scale before,” Martin von Lampe, an agricultural economist in Paris at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, told Bloomberg News.
Net food importing countries, as well as the urban poor, will likely be hardest hit, the OECD predicts.