The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says rising demand for biofuels is contributing to a rise in global food import costs, and boosting the burden for developing countries already struggling to feed their populations.
The global cost for imported foods in 2007 could top $400 billion, which would be 5% higher than last year's record, FAO says. Developing countries could face a rise of 9%.
The FAO's "Food Outlook" report blames most of that increase on price hikes for coarse grains and vegetable oils, which are commodities most in demand for biofuel production. While FAO acknowledges that biofuels can help reduce global warming, and create jobs for the rural poor, it warns that the benefits may be offset by higher food prices for the hungry.