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04/22/2008

Corn, oil and hunger

A trio of recent dots from the news stream that practically yell out to be connected:

+ The UN reported this week that rising food prices are pushing 100 million people even deeper into hunger. In response, Gordon Brown called hunger a “moral challenge.”

+ Prices are starting to get so high that traditionally GM-food-phobic markets such as the EU are starting to warm to biotech crops.

+ Oil prices rose to a record high of almost $120 a barrel on Tuesday. As oil prices go up, ethanol becomes more attractive. And where does almost all of the ethanol in the US come from? Corn. In fact, about a third of US corn now goes to ethanol production, a trend which analysts say is pushing up food costs around the world.

-Greg Dahlmann

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