Latin American leaders warn on biofuels and food

Two Latin American presidents, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Alan Garcia of Peru, have issued warnings about the negative effects of biofuel production, saying the growth of the industry is putting food out of reach for the poor.

Speaking at the UN, Morales criticised "some South American presidents" for their support of biofuel production. He did not name the presidents in question, but his views are in sharp contrast to those of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who says developing countries have enough land to produce both food and biofuels.

On Monday, Brazil announced a major joint venture in Ghana to grow sugar cane for bio-ethanol destined for the Swedish market.

"This is very serious," Morales said. "Cars come first, not human beings. But, for us, how important is life and how important are cars? So I say life first and cars second."

Garcia said the demand for biofuels was putting world food production under threat, the BBC reported. The global prices of wheat, rice and maize have nearly doubled in the past year.

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