Continuing food price volatility requires improved global governance of food security, José Graziano da Silva, director-general, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), told a ministerial meeting on food price volatility today attended by some 20 ministers.
"Food prices and volatility have increased in recent years. This is expected to continue in the medium-term," he said.
"In this context, it is important to improve governance of food security. In the globalised world we live in, it's not possible to have food security in one country alone," Graziano da Silva added.
Stéphane Le Foll, a minister in the French cabinet and the moderator of the meeting, said, "In the course of its G20 presidency and in the face of the risk of tension on the grain market, French president François Hollande called for a high-level meeting on global agricultural governance. Discussions were held on transparency in agricultural markets, the coordination of international actions, response to the global demand for food and the fight against the effects of volatility. France will continue to support any political initiatives and any concrete plans in this direction."
Important advances have already been made in governance, Graziano da Silva said, citing the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the most inclusive inter-governmental platform on food security and nutrition, the establishment of the High Level Task Force on Global Food Security by Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general, United Nations (UN) and the creation last year by the G20 of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) to ensure improved international coordination, information and market transparency.
Graziano da Silva said, "The new global governance system of food security that we are building together, that has the CFS as its cornerstone and AMIS as one of its components, is a part of a new world order that needs to emerge."
“AMIS is fully functioning and has contributed to better international coordination, information sharing and transparency,” he continued.
"This allowed us to react quickly to the price rise we saw in July 2012, preventing panic, avoiding unilateral actions and further spikes in those initial tense days," he declared.
"We are still in a complex situation but we are handling it successfully, Graziano da Silva added.
AMIS was created as part of a G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility approved in Paris in June 2011. The presidency, initially held by France for a year, passed to the United States on October 2.
World Food Day
Today's ministerial meeting on food price volatility coincided with celebrations of World Food Day at FAO Headquarters and round the world. Ministers from the following countries took part – Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Lebanon, Mozambique, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka and United Republic of Tanzania.
Their discussions, covered three main topics – how transparency in agricultural markets can be increased and how international action can be better coordinated; how increasing demand for food can be addressed; and how the effects of excessive food price volatility on the most vulnerable can be limited.