Nestle CEO warns of land clash between food, biofuels industries
22/2/2008 06:24 London Time | story 0392
ZURICH (Thomson Financial) - Peter Brabeck, Nestle's chief executive,
warned the food industry will need to fight the biofuels industry for
access to arable land as the world runs short of water.
"We will not find sufficient water to produce all the crops ... There
will be a fierce fight for arable land," he told the Financial Times
after Nestle reported forecast-beating full-year earnings yesterday.
Brabeck said the food industry will remain in competition with the
biofuels industry for land as rapid global economic development
increases demand for food.
"The consumption habit changes in emerging markets will not revert," he
said, adding that while he expects global food prices to "level" this
year, they are likely to continue rising over the long term.
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Food shortages loom as wheat crop shrinks and prices rise
THE world is only ten weeks away from running out of wheat supplies
after stocks fell to their lowest levels for 50 years.
The crisis has pushed prices to an all-time high and could lead to
further hikes in the price of bread, beer, biscuits and other basic foods.
It could also exacerbate serious food shortages in developing countries
especially in Africa.
The crisis comes after two successive years of disastrous wheat
harvests, which saw production fall from 624m to 600m tonnes, according
to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Experts blame climate change as heatwaves caused a slump in harvests
last year in eastern Europe, Canada, Morocco and Australia, all big
Booming populations and a switch to a meat-rich diet in the developing
world also mean that about 110m tons of the world's annual wheat crop is
being diverted to feed livestock.
Short term pressures have compounded the problem. Speculative buying by
investors gambling on further price rises has further pushed up prices.
Though shortages are often blamed on the use of land for biofuel crops,
the main biofuel cereal crop is maize, not wheat. Farmers have brought
millions of acres of fallow land into production and the FAO predicts
that the shortages could be eliminated within 12 months.
Check for earlier Pacific Biofuel posts: http://pacbiofuel.blogspot.com/