FOOD VS FUEL
WHY THE FOOD VS. FUEL DEBATE IS IMPORTANT AND WHY IT IS NOT?
Is biofuel production threatning the global food security?
Food vs fuel is the dilemma regarding the risk of diverting farmland or crops for biofuels production in detriment of the food supply on a global scale. The "food vs. fuel" or "food or fuel" debate is internationally controversial, with good-and-valid arguments on all sides of this ongoing debate. There is disagreement about how significant this is, what is causing it, what the impact is, and what can or should be done about it.Biofuel production has increased in recent years. Some commodities like maize, sugar cane or vegetable oil can be used either as food, feed or to make biofuels. For example, since 2006, land that was also formerly used to grow other crops in the United States is now used to grow maize for biofuels, and a larger share of maize is destined to ethanol production, reaching 25% in 2007. Since converting the entire grain harvest of the US would only produce 16% of its auto fuel needs, some experts believe that placing energy markets in competition with food markets for scarce arable land will inevitably result in higher food prices. A lot of R&D efforts are currently being put into the production of second generation biofuels from non-food crops, crop residues and waste. With global demand for biofuels on the increase due to the oil price increases taking place since 2003 and the desire to reduce oil dependency as well as reduce GHG emissions from transportation, there is also fear of the potential destruction of natural habitats by being converted into farmland. Environmental groups have raised concerns about this trade-off for several years, but now the debate reached a global scale due to the 2007–2008 world food price crisis. On the other hand, several studies do show that biofuel production can be significantly increased without increased acreage, therefore stating that the crisis in hand relies on the food scarcity.