how long now have we been discussing this same such material? -the american public's 'pie in the sky' again and again? -when the problem continues to be 'the earth here for man to inhabit and use'? -'eat as much as you can, as fast as you can before the mistake is discovered' (tv's 'maveric')-
And Zoellick says prices for basic staples will remain high for an extended period of time.
"I think you have a perfect storm of things coming together," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview. "You have high energy prices. You have the increase in demand from some of the developing countries. ... As the Indian commerce minister said to me, going from one meal a day to two meals a day for 300 million people increases demand a lot.
"You have some of those countries moving to a different diet. So more meats require more grains. You have the biofuels expansion, which is a big source of demand."
In the past two years, the price of corn in the United States has more than doubled, driven partly by demand for alternative fuels such as ethanol.
Climate, including droughts in Australia and Europe that have limited crop production, has also had an impact on food prices, he says.
"All this together has led to a real reduction in food stocks," he says.
Commodities and other traders who are betting on higher prices also contribute to the climb.
"Those combinations of events have led to an emergency situation," Zoellick says.
The World Bank has projected that food prices will stay high or go even higher over the next couple of years, and biofuels are a major factor.
"Biofuels is no doubt a significant contributor," Zoellick says. "It is clearly the case that programs in Europe and the United States that have increased biofuel production have contributed to the added demand for food."
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