G20: Will our leaders find a solution to food security?
The G20 has set out to accomplish a huge task this year: figure out a way to address food security, an issue that has been high on the political agenda in 2011, though we’ve yet to see much action (to see the recent history for this, check out this post and this post). You might also want to check out a recent report from ten international agencies (FAO, OECD, WFP, IFPRI, etc.) who came together to publish a paper on food price volatility in agricultural markets, and what policymakers should be doing to address this.
It is crucial for this topic to stay on the agenda of policymakers – of course, in the very worst days of food riots earlier this year, it was easy to take notice of it. But just because there are some indications that things are going better (or perhaps simply less bad…), many people are still going hungry.
In the European Parliament, this has been a topic of discussion ahead of the G20 meeting next week. A draft report from the development committee called for a stronger EU response to food security, while welcoming the Commission’s two Communications on this issue. Despite many strong points on this important issue, such as support for small farmers in developing countries, the report unfortunately singles out GMOs, calling for their exclusion, even though small farmers actually benefit from higher yields (more food from less land) and have chosen to grow more year-on-year. This debate needs to deal with the most important issue: growing more food to feed a growing population. GMOs are obviously not the only option, but if we want farmers to provide food while preserving our environment, we simply cannot afford to ignore GM crops.
I’ll look forward to seeing how the G20 progresses on food security next week – as with most political summits, expectations are not high that they will find the answer immediately. But it is clear that concerted action by global political leaders is absolutely essential to ensuring food security – with this as a starting point, we have hope for food security.