Tuesday, June 3, 2008

World Food Summit

From the 3rd to the 5th of June 2008, more than 50 Heads of States and Governments gather in Rome for the World Food Security Summit "The Challenge of Climate Change and Bioenergy".

Food prices are at their highest in more than three decades and stores are extremely low.

It has been said that the current situation relies in various root causes:
- increasing growth of crops for fuel
- protecionist farm policy in developed countries
- shift to meat eating in many developing countries
- large food purchased by growing countries
- reduction in international assistance to poorest countries
- fluctuating climates in many food-production countries

One of the most interesting speeches was delivered by Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil. In 2003 he launched the Zero Hunger Programme which contributed to giving meals to thousands of hungry brazilians. Mr Silva criticized the reports that were accusing ethanol producing countries, such Brazil, for the recent increase in food price. Biofuel, ha said, help to create more jobs and clean energy, and reduce pollution. Furthermore, he acknowledged the relevance of soaring oil prices, which amount for the 30% of the final cost.

The reason for the increase in food price relies in the above mentioned set of causes. A single country cannot be blamed for that, despite the criticism that the media always put on few of them.
FAO has reaffirmed its twin-track approach (alleviating impacts of high food prices and implementing short and long term agricultural policies) and has proposed the following options to be undertaken:
1) increase safety net and social protection
2) improving trade policies, either as export restriction or as import barriers
3) stimulating agricultural investments.

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