Record financing seen for biofuels, not food

Countries without their own oil reserves are being encouraged to see their farms, peatlands and forests as potential "oil fields", IPS news agency reported on Monday, citing figures released by the UN Environment Programme.

With oil prices at record highs, the report said, worldwide investment in biofuels reached US$21 billion in 2007.

The Inter-American Development Bank announced US$3 billion for investment in private sector biofuel projects, mainly in Brazil, while the World Bank said it had US$10 billion available in 2007.

But financing for food agriculture was dwindling in comparison, the report said. Development assistance for food-producing agriculture had fallen to US$3.4 billion in 2004, with the World Bank’s share less than US$1 billion.

Simone Lovera, managing coordinator of Global Forest Coalition, a Latin American environmental NGO, says a moratorium on further biofuel expansion is needed to set up guidelines and a monitoring system. "As things stand now, kids are starving because of agrofuels," she was reported saying.

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