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Easing U.S. ethanol mandate would help prevent food crisis: UN

Fri, 08/10/2012 - 3:24am
Reuters

(Reuters) - Global pressure on the United States to relax its ethanol quota mounted on Thursday as the top United Nations food official said an "immediate, temporary suspension" of the mandate could help head off another world food crisis.

As the surge in corn prices revives a fierce food versus fuel debate, José Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, wrote in the Financial Times newspaper that competition for a U.S. corn crop that has been decimated by drought was only going to intensify.

"Much of the reduced crop will be claimed by biofuel production in line with U.S. federal mandates, leaving even less for food and feed markets," he wrote in an op-ed just a day before the U.S. government issues a pivotal crop report that is expected to show U.S. corn output falling to the smallest in six years and stockpiles at near record lows.

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