Bill Clinton concerned about bio-fuel taking the place of food growing

Bill Clinton has raised concerns that food riots in third world nations seem likely. This is due to not only the spiraling food prices, but also to the fact that more corn is being used to create bio-fuels.

Although the production of bio-fuels is crucial in weaning the country away from fossil fuels, the former president feels that farmers and employees of the Agriculture department need to consider the food needs of poorer countries. Clinton was quoted as saying that energy independence is a good goal to strive for but this should not be at the detriment of others.

Clinton has had firsthand experience of the needs of these developing countries whilst working with Malawi and Rwanda in Africa to develop agribusiness. The U.S. farming community needs to consider the effects of their current agriculture policies. Clinton feels that, whilst America’s energy consumption habits must change, there is a wrong way and a right way to go about this.

Unfortunately, industry expert, Joseph Glauber, believes that the trend of rising food prices and the use of corn for bio-fuel production will continue to increase and that soon, approximately 35% of corn produced in the U.S. will be turned into ethanol instead of food

Apologists for the ethanol producers refute that bio-fuel production drives up the price of food instead arguing that the real contributor to rising food prices is the increasing oil price. Matt Hartwig of the Renewable Fuels Association argues that America is too dependent on oil in all forms of production and this will most probably increase as a result of the current political turmoil in Africa and the Middle East.

However, Congress has been reprioritizing spending away from the subsidization of bio-fuel production instead focusing on cutting spending. In fact, two bills were recently passed that will slow the growth of ethanol use.