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WORLD BANK SAYS BIO FUELS INCREASED WORLD FOOD PRICES BY 75 PER CENT CONTRADICTING US CLAIMS

By Walter Jayawardhana

Contradicting US claims, bio fuels, mostly made out of grains which otherwise consumed by humans, have shot up food prices by 75 per cent, according to a confidential World Bank report.
In an exclusive lead story by Aditya Chakrabortty , Britain’s Guardian newspaper said “bio-fuels have forced global food prices up by 75% -far more than previously estimated” according to this report.

The story revealed the newspaper has obtained this unpublished report and the damning assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally respected economist at the global financial body.

The report, the Guardian said , emphatically , contradicts US claims that bio fuels has caused only 3% increase in food prices.

Third world countries like Sri Lanka including other Afro Asian countries are the most affected due to soaring prices in food. Rising food prices have left 100 million people in the world below the poverty level and have sparked food riots from Egypt to Bangladesh .

Although these facts were known last April, the World Bank did not publish the statistics to avoid embarrassment to US President George Bush , the Guardian charged.

The revealing report has been published in the Guardian newspaper at a time very critical negotiations are taking place about bio fuel policies between nations since G8 industrialized countries are meeting in Hokkaido, Japan where they will discuss the food crisis.

Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper said the British government has already prepared its own report on bio fuels and although it was to be published last week it is not yet out.

The World Bank report said, the production of bio-fuels have contributed to the food prices in three main ways. “ First it has diverted grain away from food to fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and of half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of bio-diesel. Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for bio-fuel production. Third it has sparked financial speculation in grains and driven prices up higher.”

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