While African countries like Madagascar, Mail, and Senegal dedicate hundreds of thousands of hectares of land to biofuel production, countries in the horn of Africa are suffering from extreme famine as a result. Western countries like Italy, Germany, France, the United States, and Brazil all own multiple biofuel companies that operate in different parts of Africa. This means that all that land is being used to provide energy for western countries, and not to produce food crops that could be used to help those suffering from famine in the region. Additional problems like an expected low crop yield in Western Africa, a drought in the Horn of Africa, and massive floods in South-East Asia have also added to the increase in food prices. More than 11 million people are in desperate need of this food aid as a result of these natural and man-made disasters, and until farmers can profit from growing food crops, east African countries like Kenya will not be able to help themselves.
Countries in the Horn of Africa like Kenya and Ethiopia have already given 700,000 hectares of land to foreign biofuel producers, and the region can’t afford to lose all that land to one single crop. While we need to be providing food aid to the region, the amount of food aid the international community can afford has dropped as a result of these rising food prices. In order to create a long-term solution, western governments need to get rid of their biofuel quotas and subsidies because they are causing more farmers to switch the land that used to be used to grow crops to land for growing biofuel crops.
The United States is included in both the cause and solution to this problem. The United States is one of the biggest consumers of biofuel crops, so we have greatly added to this rise in food prices. So now we should also be sending food aid to the region to help alleviate the extreme famine being suffered there. Other western countries should be adding to this fund as well, Italy, Germany, and France all have big stakes in the region. The United Nations needs to raise more funds than ever, and the international community needs to send aid now, and decrease the demand for biofuel crops in the future.