Food V/S Fuels debate

In some poor countries the rising price of vegetable oil is causing problems. Some propose that fuel only be made from non-edible vegetable oils such as Camelina, Jatropha or seashore mallow which can thrive on marginal agricultural land where many trees and crops will not grow, or would produce only low yields.

Others argue that the problem is more fundamental. Farmers may switch from producing food crops to producing biofuel crops to make more money, even if the new crops are not edible. The law of supply and demand predicts that if fewer farmers are producing food the price of food will rise. It may take some time, as farmers can take some time to change which things they are growing, but increasing demand for first generation biofuels is likely to result in price increases for many kinds of food. Some have pointed out that there are poor farmers and poor countries that are making more money because of the higher price of vegetable oil. There is ongoing research into finding more suitable crops and improving oil yield. Other sources are possible including human fecal matter, with Ghana building its first "fecal sludge-fed biodiesel plant. A group of Spanish developers working for a company called Ecofasa announced a new biofuel made from trash. The fuel is created from general urban waste which is treated by bacteria to produce fatty acids, which can be used to make biodiesel. Another approach that does not require the use of chemical for the production, it involves the use of genetically modified microbes.

  • Biofuels impact on food security
  • Nonfood crops for biofuels production
  • Agricultural modernization and its impact on society and environment

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