Only last week, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva rejected allegations that biofuels are responsible for the recent rise in global food prices. In a diplomatic rebuke, two other Latin American leaders have now issued dire warnings about the effects of biofuel production on food supplies.

Speaking at the UN in New York, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the development of biofuels harmed the world’s most impoverished people. And President Alan Garcia of Peru said using land for biofuels was putting food out of reach for the poor.

Morales said, “some South American presidents who were talking about biofuels but did not understand what they were talking about”. That was a clear snub to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who says his country has enough land to grow food crops as well as plants to produce biofuels.

For his part, Peru’s President Garcia said the demand for biofuels was putting world food production under threat. Just over 40% of Peruvians – some 12 million people – live below the poverty line and have been hit hard by the sharp price increases.