Volume 15, Number 2, Mars-Avril 2008
|Page(s)||109 - 113|
|Section||Des politiques en concurrence|
|Published online||15 March 2008|
Productions alimentaires et productions non alimentaires : compétition ou complémentarité ?
Centre national pour la promotion des produits agricoles et alimentaires, 9 rue de la Baume, 75008
The topic is intentionally controversial. Prices on a number of food types used for biofuel have doubled in last couple of years. In the same time oil price is soaring. Many factors are contributing to the rise of food prices: the biggest is escalating demand. In recent years the economies of the world developing countries have been growing about 7 percent a year; other factors are droughts, new deregulation in agricultural policies (less intervention lowering stock levels), US dollar weakness benefiting commodity prices as safe haven asset and increase production costs like energy inputs. The explanation of the increases of oils prices are very close: the growth of new developing countries, political instability in fuel exporting countries, the loss of faith in US currency, the low investments in prospecting and refining of fuel. The use of renewable biofuels in lieu of fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security. Brazil produces 5 billions gal (19 millions hL) of sugarcane ethanol, enough to supply 45% of its transportation fuel demands. This production needs 6 millions hectares on a total of 400 millions ha for farming. In EU the proportion area devoted to biofuels is 1%. In US, at the same time substantial price rises for maize, the main raw material for the US ethanol. The expected reduction in US maize exports would weigh heavily on the already tight supply on international grain market. In any event, even if maize yields were to achieve the require increase, the United States might have to limit exports in order to achieve its ambitious biofuels targets. The competition between food uses and biofuels is depending of the speed of development of second generation cellulosic and biomass based biofuels and of the purpose of US authorities to improve the level of grains stocks as corn, wheat and soya.
Key words: food price / food use / energy prices / biofuel
© John Libbey Eurotext 2008
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