US urged to consider effect of ethanol on the poor

The United States should consider rising food prices that hurt the world's poor when it sets policies that funnel much of its corn crop into biofuel production, the president of the World Bank said on Wednesday.

Prices for staples like wheat and rice have surged in recent years, causing hunger, riots and hoarding in poor countries.

A global push to ramp up ethanol production is seen to play a part in pushing prices higher. World Bank president Robert Zoellick said the
United States should take this into account.

"The country has to assess the effect of that on the overall set of humanitarian issues in terms of the price of food products," Reuters quoted Zoellick as saying.

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