Monday, April 20, 2009

G-8 recommends stockpiling food to prevent price shocks

When food prices went through the roof last year, many people in the under developed world began to riot, because they could no longer afford food. Since then, world leaders have been looking for ways to prevent such unrest from happening again. They have a lot of work to do, as many countries are far behind meeting the Millennium Development Goal of of halving poverty by 2015.

The agricultural leaders of the eight wealthiest nations have concluded meetings to improve food security. They recommend that countries stockpile food. But Oxfam has called on the G-8 to do a lot more.

From the AFP via Google, we see what was announced at the G8 meetings recently concluded in Italy.

The G8 agriculture ministers called for a study into setting up a global system to stockpile essential foodstuffs after three days of talks in northeastern Italy joined by key emerging and developing countries.

"We call upon the relevant international institutions to examine whether a system of stockholding could be effective in dealing with humanitarian emergencies or as a means to limit price volatility," the ministers said in a final declaration.

"It's an important first step," said the head of the UN food agency, Jacques Diouf. "Now we hope that ... we can broach structural problems and come (to negotiations) with concrete solutions," notably at the G8 summit in Sardinia in July, he told a news conference.

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said he was "pleased by the fact that so many top agriculture officials of the world had met ... to draw international attention to the fact that we have not resolved the food crisis."

While recession has cooled soaring prices, officials say it offers only a temporary respite, while activists complain that only a fraction of the 22 billion dollars (17 billion euros) in aid announced at a UN food agency summit in Rome last June has been disbursed.

The British-based charity Oxfam immediately slammed Monday's declaration, which also lamented that the world is "very far" from attaining the UN goal on malnutrition.

"The G8 has failed the world's one billion hungry people," it said in a statement.

The ministers "have made an extraordinary admission of collective failure."

No comments: