Ethanol subsidies and rising food prices

Jeffrey Simpson is taking a very narrow view of “food” when he suggests that ethanol subsidies are responsible for the rapid rise in global food costs (Blame ethanol subsidies for those nasty global food fights, 11 April). Rice, a staple for about half the world’s population, has increased in price by as much as 70 percent over the past year—despite it not being in direct competition with corn-based ethanol production (unlike corn, wheat, and soybeans). The increase in the cost of rice can be attributed to growing populations in rice consuming countries, poor harvests due to weather conditions, hoarding, and inflationary pressures arising from high energy costs.

Published Globe and Mail 12 April 2008.