Biofuel Boom Threatens Food Supplies Say Nestle

'If as predicted we look to use biofuels to satisfy 20% of the growing demand for oil products, there will be nothing left to eat,' Nestle COE Brabeck-Letmathe said.

Growing use of crops such as wheat and corn to make biofuels is putting world food supplies in peril, the head of Nestle, the world's biggest food and beverage company, warned March 23. "If as predicted we look to use biofuels to satisfy 20% of the growing demand for oil products, there will be nothing left to eat," chairman and chief executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said.

"To grant enormous subsidies for biofuel production is morally unacceptable and irresponsible," he told the Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.

While the competition is driving up the price of maize, soya and wheat, land for cultivation is becoming rare and water sources are also under threat, Brabeck said. His remarks echoed concerns raised by the United Nations' independent expert on the right to food, Jean Ziegler. Speaking at the UN General Assembly last year, Ziegler called for a five-year moratorium on all initiatives to develop biofuels in order to avert what he said might be "horrible" food shortages.

Diplomats from countries pursuing such fuels, such as Brazil and Colombia, disagreed with his forecast.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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