Is bio-ethanol driving up food prices?

Readers in Germany may find this article interesting.  Once again, bio-fuels are being blamed for taking the food out of other peoples’ mouths.

What’s new about the argument this time, is that there is an explanation as to why this is happening.

Normally I hear a straight forward claim, that the production in Europe is taking food out of the mouths of people in Africa – without any thought as to whether the food would have actually been transported to Africa in the first place.

The new claim is somewhat different – due to the bio-ethanol production the price of the raw materials has risen, and that means that aid agencies have to pay more for things such as grain.  This in turn means that they can buy less of it to feed people.

Perhaps more regulation of the system is required so that the aid agencies still get their grain at a reasonable price, without stifling the competition of the bio-fuel producers?

I assume that other types of bio-fuel, eg. from wood chippings, is not affecting these prices and could therefore be a better option?


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. says:

    Ist Bio-ethanol verantwortlich für höhere Lebensmittelpreise?

    Es gibt Berichte, die behaupten dass Bio-Kraftstoffe für höhere Lebensmittelpreise verantwortlich sind.

    Dadurch haben es Hilfsorganisationen teuerer, Grundnahrung für hungrige Menschen zu kaufen.

    Gibt es eine bessere Lösung?

  2. make ethanol says:

    […] are putting up the prices of foodstuffs and making it more expensive for aid agencies to operate. to Make EthanolThough oil and gas interests defeated Ford??s proposal to make ethanol ???the […]

  3. […] has been a lot of dicussion in the media recently about biofuels.  Many people, even U.N. officials, claim that producing biofuels is […]

  4. […] have blogged before about how bio-ethanol does not have to be made from crops, as there are alternatives such as […]

  5. […] often hear debates about whether bio-ethanol production is taking the food out of other peoples’ […]

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