A perfect storm of factors has driven the breathtaking rates of inflation and volatility in food markets over recent years, but biofuels have been the game changer
This year, 40% of America’s corn crop will go into car engines rather than stomachs. Add the fact that the US is both the world’s largest producer of corn and the largest exporter, and that 10 years ago only 7% of its crop went to ethanol production, and you start to see why enthusiasm for biofuelsamong oil importers has had such a marked impact on food prices.
Other factors have driven the breathtaking inflation and volatility in food markets over the last few years. These include a rising global population, millions more people shifting to western diets, declining crop yield growth, years of under-investment, extreme weather, high oil prices increasing the cost of inputs such as fertiliser, low stock levels, and kneejerk actions by governments such as food export bans and panic buying by importers.