By Gemma Childe on 21st Jun 2012
World hunger could worsen if the price of food crop essentials rises with the European Union’s support for biofuel production, a report has warned.
The cost could rise by as much as 36% by the end of the decade but the subject will not be highlighted at the summit of the G20 group of major economic powers in Mexico, according to Clare Coffe, policy advisor for ActionAid.
The development charity has warned that the allocation of ever-growing acres of farmland to producing crops for fuel was already a "major contributor to world hunger" and could make the problem worse.
ActionAid appealed for leaders including David Cameron to rethink Europe's target of 10% renewable energy in transport by 2020, which has made the EU the world's biggest producer and consumer of biodiesel.
Ms Coffey said: "Biofuels will be the elephant in the room at the G20 summit as no-one there is prepared to speak out on the subject. Yet by getting rid of biofuel mandates, David Cameron and other world leaders could at the stroke of a pen tackle a key factor behind world food price rises and volatility.
"The G20 must acknowledge the significant role of biofuels in worsening global food security. A billion people around the world are already malnourished. EU and other countries are sleep-walking their way to a global food security disaster."
The charity quoted estimates that EU biodiesel use could increase oil seed prices up by as much as 20% and vegetable oils 36% by 2020, while EU ethanol consumption could push the price of maize by 22% and sugar by 21%.
As it stands, 66% of vegetable oils from EU harvests are used for biofuels, according to the report.