Saturday, August 19, 2006

Corn Shortage Predicted By 2008




"'We're putting the supermarket in competition with the corner filling station for the output of the farm,' said Lester Brown, an agriculture expert in Washington and president of the Earth Policy Institute. Farms cannot feed all the world's people and its motor vehicles as well, he said, and the result is that more people will go hungry." --NYT, 1/17/06



From the
Earth Times, August 12, 2006:

WASHINGTON - Analysts in United States have cautioned that unless corn planting is expanded drastically, the country could be facing corn shortage by as early as 2008.

...Mark McMinimy, analyst at Stanford Washington Research, said, "There's definitely need for more corn. Especially with the ethanol industry growing bigger and hungrier each year".

...As per the current consumption rates, analysts predict that stockpiles would go down by nearly 40 percent to 1.23 billion bushels by next fall. With the oil price increasing every week, motorists in US have been turning to ethanol, which is produced from renewable resources such as corn, sugar and soybeans. US ethanol consumes as much as 2.15 billion bushels of corn, which is about 18 percent of the total crop produced.

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From
"Ethanol could leave the world hungry," Fortune Magazine, August 16, 2006:

...
It could leave much of the world hungry.

We are facing an epic competition between the 800 million motorists who want to protect their mobility and the two billion poorest people in the world who simply want to survive. In effect, supermarkets and service stations are now competing for the same resources.

This year cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption. The problem is simple: It takes a whole lot of agricultural produce to create a modest amount of automotive fuel.

The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol, for instance, could feed one person for a year. If today's entire U.S. grain harvest were converted into fuel for cars, it would still satisfy less than one-sixth of U.S. demand.

...biofuel production is now being driven largely by the runaway price of oil. Many food commodities, including corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, and sugar cane, can be converted into fuel; thus the food and energy economies are beginning to merge.

...In some U.S. Cornbelt states, ethanol distilleries are taking over the corn supply. In Iowa, 25 ethanol plants are operating, four are under construction, and another 26 are planned.

Iowa State University economist Bob Wisner observes that if all those plants are built, distilleries would use the entire Iowa corn harvest. In South Dakota, ethanol distilleries are already claiming over half that state's crop. ...

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"...the only way to effectively reduce oil-dependency is to reduce overall energy-dependency. Alone, supply-side solutions only offer more problems. Growing grain to feed cars and trucks instead of growing food to feed people is just one example."

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Coming to a "Super Center" near you...

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