It's not an either/or
Bio fuels produce several outputs. Just like with oil extraction, where steep liquor and steep feed go to feed livestock and other uses, the byproducts of ethanol production are used. In fact, bio-fuel byproducts are improved -- as an example, corn (maize) used in ethanol production can be substantially inferior to that used for oil production, and the resulting mash has a consistent feed quality, and significantly higher protein content than raw corn. It's a good fit, improving corn used for animal feed, reducing the need for tankage (reduces the chance for BSE to propagate into the food chain) to improve protein content, and producing usable fuel into the bargain.
The problem is, every time someting like this comes up, some knothead starts b*tching about SUV's. Usually, it's some jerk that is sitting on top of their own enormous pyramid of consumption (hello pot, meet kettle), purchasing some sort of fool's pardon by buying a brand-new, 'efficient' electric or hybrid vehicle that uses some thousands of tons of coal to produce so they can feel smug about themselves, not to mention the coal, uranium, and fossil fuel they need to propel it down the road. When I see them actually make a sacrifice, then maybe I'll start thinking they've got something to say that isn't something smug and self-righteous.
I wish these people, if they want the moral high ground, would forgo their own consumption pyramid before they point out the error of everybody else's ways. Maybe do more walking, and less b*tching.
Everybody that trots out the tired arguments about the poor omits a lot of things in an effort to absolve themselves. Here's just a couple:
1) Poor people live in poor areas need to improve their lives. No handout can replace the desire to improve their own situation. It may or may not be their fault, but as long as they do what they've always done, they'll get what they've always got.
2) Grains don't export all that well, unless the recipient has the means to pay for shipping. Making ethanol and using products close to their source is just a good use of natural resources. I know it's frustrating to see abundance in one part of the world and need in another, but bashing people for their successes will not fix the failures.
I see no difference between a warlord keeping his people in extreme poverty so the aid checks keep coming and a do-gooder that wants to tell the rest of the world that their SUV's are the cause of world hunger. Both exploit the poor in support of their own twisted agendas. Neither truly has any interest in actually alleviating any of this poverty. Both just want into the pockets of the better-off for their own reasons. Neither has any chance of providing a world without hunger, in fact, it's their means of support. The only thing they are capable of is just a lot of photo-ops, jet-setting and collective misery, and the world can certainly do without that.
If people are seriously interested in helping the poor, instead of just exploiting them for their own agendas, then see to it they have:
a) a good economy
b) access to a good education
c) the ability to find work at better than starvation wages
d) better knowledge of how to grow their own food
e) better government
f) better medical care
You cannot do any of this with socialism or a dictatorship, and a healthy market economy is probably the only way to get it going. The solution to bad government and inept social organisations is not more bad government and more inept social organisations. (Not inept? How many trillions have been spent, and how many millions are still starving?) If you want to help from the comforts of home, then give to the micro loan providers -- they stand a decent chance of doing all of that, as unfashionable as they may be in Hollywood and elsewhere...