June 23, 2011 / 11:58 AM / 8 years ago

Instant view: G20 farm ministers agree deal on food prices

LONDON (Reuters) - G20 members settled a deal on Thursday to curb volatility in food prices, falling short of France’s ambitious plans to impose tough new regulations on speculators, but agreeing to boost transparency with a new database.

Following are comments about the agreement.

EPURE, EUROPEAN ETHANOL INDUSTRY GROUP

“The Action Plan... recognizes the vital role of biofuels in reduction of greenhouse gases, energy security and rural development and said that there was not enough evidence to link biofuels to food price volatility. The European ethanol industry welcomes the decision by the G20 to vanquish the myth that biofuels are responsible for food price volatility.”

CAROLINE SPELMAN, UK SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

“This has been a very successful first meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers with the UK securing a number of significant outcomes in the final text... if the plan is implemented quickly and effectively it will go a long way to creating a more predictable world for food producers and consumers alike in both developed and developing countries.”

ADRIANO CAMPOLINA, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, ACTIONAID BRAZIL

“In 2009, the G20 showed it can arrange massive bailouts for bankers, but now it’s demonstrating it has no will to stop the looming food crisis that will hit the poor the hardest. ActionAid will continue mobilizing to hold President Sarkozy to his promises on global food security by the November G20 summit despite the agriculture ministers’ failure.”

ROSA AGUILAR, SPANISH AGRICULTURE MINISTER

“The G20 action plan constitutes a good starting-point with political commitment and concrete action which allow for greater international coordination when it comes to facing and preventing future food crises.”

TOM VILSACK, U.S. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY

“The consensus reached today by the G-20 Agricultural Ministers marks an historic union of resolve in combating the pressing challenges of hunger and food price volatility confronting our world with greater regularity.

“In the end, this agreement is only as good as the actions we take together to aggressively confront food security’s difficult challenges, but our cooperation as reflected today is a significant achievement for the nearly one billion people grappling with hunger each day.”

DACIAN CIOLOS, EU FARM COMMISSIONER

“It’s a good step forward, but I and the Commission would have liked (the agreement) to go a bit further.

“On that question (of financial regulation), I think all countries have to take the necessary steps themselves. If countries don’t do it themselves, it will be very difficult to achieve at international level, as all financial markets are regulated at national or regional level.”

JEAN-CYRIL DAGORN, POLICY ADVISOR, OXFAM

“Fixing the global food system and ending the food price crisis requires major surgery yet the G20 produced little more than a sticking plaster. Agriculture Ministers agreed to address some of the impacts of high and volatile prices but failed to introduce the measures needed to prevent prices spiraling out of control in the first place.”

“Crossing our fingers and hoping the crisis will go away is simply not good enough when millions of people are going hungry because of high and volatile food prices. Only by getting to grips with the problems — reforming flawed biofuels policies which divert food into fuel and helping poor countries build up buffer stocks to cope with extremes in food price volatility — will they solve this problem.”

JOSETTE SHEERAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

“The Action Plan affirms and strengthens the capacity of WFP and others assessing and responding to food crises, while building the capacity of nations and peoples to better manage risk and meet their own food and nutrition security needs.

“WFP applauds this historic agreement and strong Action Plan provisions that can ensure the hungry have access to food through WFP in emergencies by removing export barriers or extraordinary taxes for humanitarian food and promote broad global support for similar action through UN agencies and the World Trade Organization.”

Reporting by Martin Roberts, Chuck Abbott, Sarah McFarlane, Charlie Dunmore, Jonathan Saul, Nigel Hunt; Compiled by Eric Onstad

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