their three-day summit in Japan the leaders of the major industrialized nations
called on countries with sufficient food stocks to release some of their
reserves to moderate food price in the short term. And to help bring long-term
stability to the world's food supply, the leaders said at their summit in Japan
that they would consider a proposal to create an emergency food reserve
network. VOA's Brian Padden reports.
Amid reports that tens of
millions more people have been pushed into hunger by high food prices, leaders
of the world's major industrialized nations this week expressed concern over
the steep rise in food prices.
The Group of Eight summit
pledged $10 billion in food aid to those suffering most. They say there is a
need for increased agriculture productivity.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown emphasized eliminating government
policies that discourage production.
"We've got to have a
global solution to what's a global problem," said Brown.
And the leaders called for
countries with sufficient food stocks to make available a part of their surplus
for countries in need. Japan agreed to
release part of its rice stockpile.
Jake Caldwell, an agriculture analyst with the Center For American Progress
says other major rice producing countries such as India, Vietnam, and China
have been restricting exports of their stockpiles. "If they release those
stockpiles even marginally over the short term that would send a sort of an
important signal to the market that the prices should stabilize," Caldwell
said. "It would bring the prices down and it would provide some short-term
Most of the major
industrialized nations do not have large grain reserves. At the G8 summit, World Bank President
Robert Zoellick advocated building an international network of food stockpiles.
"I believe this summit can make an important start, here and now, to focus
on the needs of the most vulnerable, as we boost production of food and fuel
over the medium and long term," Zoellick said.
Under the proposed system,
each member state of the G8 will be required to store specific amounts of
grains and release them into the market in a coordinated effort to stabilize
grain prices when necessary. Caldwell says, if implemented correctly, these
stockpiles could help assure adequate food supply. "If the governments had
adequate stockpiles, they can release them," Caldwell said. "[It] is sort of a
question of extremes. They could
release them at a moderate level and therefore stabilize the system. But it is when they over-react, and panic
and cause export bans on releasing any of the food, then that is when the whole
system becomes out of wack."
He says these stockpiles
could prevent volatility in the market without inhibiting production.