“The average Guatemalan is now hungrier because of biofuel development”

In a country where most families must spend about two thirds of their income on food, “the average Guatemalan is now hungrier because of biofuel development,” said Katja Winkler, a researcher at Idear, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization that studies rural issues. Roughly 50 percent of the nation’s children are chronically malnourished, the fourth-highest rate in the world, according to the United Nations.

The American renewable fuel standard mandates that an increasing volume of biofuel be blended into the nation’s vehicle fuel supply each year to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and to bolster the nation’s energy security. Similarly, by 2020, transportation fuels in Europe will have to contain 10 percent biofuel.

Large companies like Pantaleon Sugar Holdings, Guatemala’s leading sugar producer, are profiting from that new demand, with recent annual growth of more than 30 percent. The Inter-American Development Bank says the new industry could bring an infusion of cash and jobs to Guatemala’s rural economy if developed properly. For now, the sugar industry directly provides 60,000 jobs and the palm industry 17,000, although the plantations are not labor-intensive.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

Related posts

  • kevindf

    The econuts will just write this off as an untended consequence of “cleaning up the planet.”

Top