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The Education & Research Committee
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Posted on 06 September 2012

Agriculture

Food price fears prompt plans for emergency talks.

There are widespread concerns about the impact of the dry weather in the US. The US, France and Mexico are planning talks to consider whether an emergency meeting is needed to tackle the soaring price of grain.  

The three will hold a conference call at the end of this month after the worst US drought in 50 years threatens to cause a sharp rise in the cost of staple crops. The call will decide whether to convene the first meeting of the newly-formed G20 Rapid Response Forum. It was formed to promote united action.

A French agriculture ministry official said: "If the situation requires it, a meeting of the Rapid Response Forum could be called as soon as the start of September.” The aim is to talk about the situation and avoid measures like export embargoes which would be damaging for everyone." The conference call will discuss a report on agricultural prices requested by France, it was compiled by the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS).

On Friday, the price of benchmark Chicago corn reached an all-time high after the US Department of Agriculture cut its production estimate by 17%. Four years ago spikes in the price of food triggered riots in 12 countries, including Egypt, and prompted Russia to ban wheat exports to conserve its own stocks.