"The official "price index" for foods that poor people eat the most -- grains and oils -- has climbed more than threefold so far this decade. This is a catastrophe, but there's no way that changes in eating habits of northerners could be the cause or cure of this radical jump. A recent leaked World Bank report says agrofuel production alone has caused food prices to rise 75 percent between 2002 and February of this year. I like the term "agrofuel," because it reminds us that we're talking about using agricultural resources, instead of "biofuel" that could be made from non-food materials. (It should be noted that The Wall Street Journal has posted a new piece in which Donald Mitchell, author of the draft of the "leaked report," says it was a work in progress and "doesn't reflect the official position of the World Bank.")
Today's hunger crisis results from anti-democratic power that chose to put agribusiness interests in agrofuel production ahead of citizens' interest in eating. It takes no PhD in economics to predict a big price impact from significant farmland diversion from food to fuel. The doubling of the real price of oil in two years, also driven by an industry unaccountable to democratic interests, plays a huge role as well." (Thanks Toufic)
Frances Moore Lappé in the Huff.