RP ECO SOCIETY TRACES GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS TO BIOFUEL THRUST
MANILA, MAY 1, 2008 (STAR) There is food shortage in the world today and some scientists and world leaders are putting the blame on the mass production of biofuel.
Two years ago, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that biofuels can help eradicate hunger and poverty for up to two billion people and at the same time help counter climate change. Because of subsidies and commitments by first world countries to the use of biofuel, thousands of farmers all over the United States and Europe switched from food to fuel production.
In the last two years the US has diverted 60 million tons of food to fuel. This year 18 percent of all US grain production will go to biofuel.
In addition, large areas of Brazil, Argentina, Canada and eastern Europe are diverting sugar cane, palm oil and soybean crops to production of biofuel feedstock. The result, exacerbated by energy price rises, speculation and shortages because of severe weather, has been big increases of all global food commodity prices.
“That is why the Ecological Society of the Philippines (ESP) is calling on the Philippine government to look closely on the biofuels bill and plant food for people and not for cars,” said ESP president Antonio Claparols. “If we ask our farmers to shift from planting food to growing plants for fuel, it will create a food crisis here and worldwide. We call on government to feed our people. We have enough agricultural land.”
Claparols suggested that instead of shifting to biofuel, the RP government must promote organic farming because not only will it help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it will also assure high yields to farmers and encourage biodiversity.
Atienza seeks help of agri engineers Sunday, April 27, 2008
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose L. Atienza Jr. has urged the country’s agricultural engineers to help solve the problem of climate change.
Atienza issued the call in a symposium held in line with the celebration of Agricultural Engineering Week by the Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers (PSAE) at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
In a written message for the symposium, Atienza referred to current debates on the allocation of agricultural land for the production of food and crops for biofuel. “The competence of agricultural engineers in this aspect is most needed especially in the decision and appropriate solutions of efficient use of scarce land under various oil types,” he said. – Benny Enriquez
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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