Material 2: James Melik: Nestle blames biofuels for high food prices (2012)
"The time of cheap food prices is over," says Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. He is highly critical of the rise in the production of bio-diesel, saying this puts pressure on food supplies by using land and water that would otherwise be used 10 grow crops for human or animal consumption.
"If no food was used for fuel, the prices would come down again - that is very clear," he says.
"We are now in a new world with a completely different level of food prices because of the direct link with fuel," he says.
He says biofuels are only affordable because of the high subsidies they receive, partic-
ularly in the US.
"It is absolutely unacceptable and cannot be justified," he says.
"There is one demand that I have, and that is not to use food for fuel."
[…] When politicians said they wanted ti replace 20% of fossil fuels with biofuels, it meant increasing the production of crops threefold, according to Mr Brabeck-Lethmathe.
And most of the world's sugar production now goes into making biofuels, he says. Agri-culture uses 70% of world's water consumption […].
"It takes about 4,600 litres of water to produce one Iitre of pure ethanol if it comes from sugar, and it takes 1,900 Iitres of water if it comes from palm oil," he says. […]
During recent months there has been a drop in some prices, but this will not last. says Mr
"In the last five months we lost roughly 100 million tonnes of crops, largely in South America and most recently in the US grain belt, which has been dealing with 100 degree temperatures," he says.
"So we have seen maize prices go up 40% and soya bean prices rise by 25% - so it is
not a time to relax.
Ultimately most of those crops are converted into other things, such as sweeteners, par-ticularly in the US, or into animal feed, which later results in higher meat prices. […]" Short-term supply shocks have a major impact on price.
"We have seen occasions in the last few years where a governments's reaction to that
has been to do things like introduce export bans, or cap maximum prices," Mr Conway says. "It is understandable they are doing that to protect essentially the urban poor, to keep prices down."
He notes that such actions are actually harmful because it means that farmers receive lower prices and people are deterred from investing in food production.
With 60% of the world's unexploited arable land in Africa, Mr Conway says it needs to become more productive. […]
"Farmers need clarity of tenure, better infrastructure, better markets for their produce - and when you provide that sort of environment, you will see an increase in production." […]
9 subsidy - money that is paid by the government to keep the price of a product low
14 threefold - three times as many
20 Mr Conway - chairman of a large US food conglomerate
25 short-term supply shocks - kurzfristige Versorgungsengpässe
30 to cap sth. - etwas deckeln
34 to deter s.o. from doing sth. - jmd. von etwas abschrecken
35 unexploited arable land - das ungenutzte Ackerland
37 tenure - der Besitz, das Pachtrecht
Aus: James Melik, "Nestle blames biofuels for high food prices",
BBC News July 18, 2012. https://goo.gl/bZbupd