Even ‘green’ agriculture has its problems

The Western Catholic Reporter in Edmonton, Alberta, has this feature about some of the drawbacks of “green” agriculture.

The article focuses on the use of certain crops as fuel, a growing practice around the world, especially in developing countries.

Agro-fuels are created from agricultural products such as corn, sugar, palm oil, canola and soy. They are usually grown in large-scale monocultures that depend on chemical fertilizers, cause deforestation, pollute water and damage biodiversity.

As demand for agro-fuels increases, so does the price of food because farmers devote more of their land to growing agro-fuel crops. In Mexico, for example, the price of corn went up by 70 percent in six months during 2006-07. Mexican corn was being sold for ethanol use in the United States.

The information for the story came from a conference in Edmonton with speakers from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services.

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