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AFBF: 'Real Solutions' Needed at Rome Summit

by 5m Editor
4 June 2008, at 9:46am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Farm Bureau Federation this week is participating in the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Summit on food security, climate change and renewable fuels, which is being held in Rome.


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"Farm Bureau strongly believes that the food price situation we face today is complex and cannot be resolved by politically expedient scapegoating. Instead, we must address it in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner."
AFBF trade specialist Chris Garza

According to AFBF, the summit represents a unique opportunity for world leaders to discuss changing global economic factors affecting the production and pricing of agricultural commodities.Factors frequently mentioned as contributors to the current global food situation include the rising cost of energy, increased worldwide demand, restrictions in production technology, weather impacts on crop production, lower stock levels, export restriction limiting trade flows, the production of renewable fuels and the operation of financial markets.

“As the world’s largest agricultural producer and food exporter, the United States has an intense interest in the issues under discussion,” said AFBF trade specialist Chris Garza, who is representing the organization at the summit.

“While many critics have focused on renewable fuels as the culprit for recent food price increases, the situation is significantly more complex,” continued Garza.“Targeting ethanol and other biofuels is misplaced and fails to acknowledge their benefits, including decreased reliance on finite gas and oil reserves.”

Garza also noted the irony that while high energy costs are noted as a major factor in increased prices, there is little weight given to the fact that ethanol production and use is helping keep oil and gasoline prices lower than they otherwise would be.According to Merrill Lynch, without renewable fuels, oil and gasoline prices would be 10 percent to 15 percent higher.

“Farm Bureau strongly believes that the food price situation we face today is complex and cannot be resolved by politically expedient scapegoating,” said Garza. “Instead, we must address it in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner.”

Such a plan includes efforts by the international community to help developing countries achieve food sufficiency by investing in agricultural infrastructure and trade facilitation. Further, investment in physical infrastructure, research, rural development and the availability of biotech seed are the foundation to agricultural sufficiency.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers, like all agricultural producers worldwide, seek to provide staples for the growing world population,” said Garza. “World leaders must commit to real solutions and allow agriculture to flourish.”

5m Editor