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10 Disadvantages of Biofuels

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Food Security

Biofuel production using food crops such as corn, soybeans and sorghum has the potential to alter drastically the world's access to affordable food. The simple supply-and-demand economics of biofuels -- increase demand for corn, for example, and corn becomes more expensive -- can pose a threat to some regions' food security, or the access to affordable nutritious food for the region's population [source: Naylor].

The rise in demand for food-biofuel crops can have a positive effect for crop producers, in the form of higher prices for their produce. But that price quickly trickles down to consumers. A pig farmer, for example, may have to pay a few extra dollars per bushel to buy corn to feed his livestock. That directly translates into more expensive bacon and ham at the grocery store [source: Carey]. For the billions of people who live on only a few dollars per day, even a small increase in food prices could put their access to proper nutrition at risk.

One way to counter this lies in simple diplomacy: The globalization of world commerce means that it's now easier than ever to move food supplies from one part of the world to another in response to increased demand. However, ready access to food imports, and the ease of exporting, hinge on a wide range of political and social factors. Relying on produce from halfway around the globe to feed a hungry nation is a risky price to pay for widespread biofuel integration into the world's energy supplies.

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