Biofuels causing food crisis, says secret report

Biofuels have pushed global food prices up by 75%, the Guardian reported an internal World Bank study as saying. The US government had previously claimed plant-based fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises, linking higher costs to greater demand from India and China.

President Bush’s contention was roundly contradicted by the unpublished World Bank study, which the Guardian said is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far. The assessment reportedly said: "Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases."

"Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," it added.

The news comes before leaders of the G8 countries meet next week in northern Japan for a summit at which soaring food and oil prices will be high on the agenda.

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