2013-01-08. As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

posted Jan 8, 2013, 9:11 AM by Alan Gould
| Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times. Relevant to GSS Energy Use chapter 9. Excerpt:   GUATEMALA CITY — In the tiny tortillerias of this city, people complain ceaselessly about the high price of corn. Just three years ago, one quetzal — about 15 cents — bought eight tortillas; today it buys only four. And eggs have tripled in price because chickens eat corn feed. … Recent laws in the United States and Europe that mandate the increasing use of biofuel in cars have had far-flung ripple effects, economists say, as land once devoted to growing food for humans is now sometimes more profitably used for churning out vehicle fuel. …Now that the United States is using 40 percent of its crop to make biofuel, it is not surprising that tortilla prices have doubled in Guatemala, which imports nearly half of its corn. … Production of sugar cane, long a mainstay Guatemalan crop, has also skyrocketed as biofuels opened new market opportunities. Pantaleon Sugar Holdings, which once exported only food products, now uses 13 percent of its production for fuel. Local sugar prices have doubled…. Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/science/earth/in-fields-and-markets-guatemalans-feel-squeeze-of-biofuel-demand.html?ref=science