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Brazil: Biofuels are not at the root of hunger crisis

May 01, 2008
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According to the Associated Press, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made an impassioned defense of biofuels, denying that their production contributes to food scarcity and rising global prices.

He also sharply criticized industrial countries for subsidizing agricultural output, which he blamed for undermining the competitiveness of developing nations and reducing world production.

Brazil is the world''s leading exporter of ethanol, and the world''s No. 2 producer after the United States. Brazil makes the biofuel from sugar cane, as opposed to the corn-based ethanol that dominates U.S. production.

Silva''s speech was seen as a response to a U.N. report released that called biofuels a "crime against humanity," for diverting food crops toward fuel production as a global scarcity deepens and food prices rise.

The report said farmers worldwide must reduce dependency on fossil fuels and better protect the environment, as riots erupt over food shortages in the Caribbean and Africa and hunger approaches crisis stage in parts of Asia. It recommended an international moratorium on incentives for producing and marketing biofuels.

Silva said that argument is the work of "second-guessers" who are giving opinions about Brazil from overseas.
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