FOOD AND FUEL COMPETE FOR LAND – From Chapter 2. Beyond the Oil Peak
Lester R. Brown, Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble
On any given day there are now two groups of buyers in world commodity markets: one representing food processors and another representing biofuel producers. The line between the food and fuel economies has suddenly blurred as service stations compete with supermarkets for the same commodities.
With oil prices now high enough to stimulate potentially massive investments in fuel crop production, the world farm economy—already struggling to feed 6.5 billion people—will face far greater demands. How the world manages this new incredibly complex situation will tell us a great deal about the prospect for our energy-hungry twenty-first century civilization.
The food sector will be affected in two ways. Food will become more costly as higher oil prices drive up production costs. As oil costs rise, diets will be altered as people move down the food chain and as they consume more local, seasonally produced food. Diets will thus become more closely attuned to local products and more seasonal in nature.