A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
Focus on issues

The FAO, the World Bank and the IMF are concerned about food inflation

Momagri Editorial Board

Since early 2011, agricultural commodity prices have soared and are extremely volatile. Consequently, these increases are reflected in world food prices, but it is the poor people in developing countries who are most vulnerable. International organizations are concerned and are beginning to speak in unison.

A reminder of the context: In February, food prices reached new a historic record. According to the FAO price index, they rose 22% from January to reach “the highest level since the FAO started measuring food prices in 1990”, said the UN organization . This increase, which particularly affects milk products and cereals, may even be aggravated by the recent surge in oil prices. But when food prices rise, it is the poor who are most affected because they spend a significant portion of their budget on food. Following the surge in agricultural prices in 2007-2008, the dreaded bar of one billion "hungry" in the world was reached in 2009.

Already on 11th January 2011, in an interview with the newspaper Les Echos, Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food at the United Nations, did not hide his concern: “Today we are living the start of a food crisis similar to that experienced three years ago”. He said the areas most at risk are the countries of the Sahel, Mozambique, Afghanistan and Mongolia. Not to mention "emerging" countries such as China or Brazil, who are experiencing high inflation in food prices due to growth in domestic demand.

On 15th February, the World Bank President Robert Zoellick told a news conference in Washington: “World food prices threaten tens of millions of poor people throughout the world”, before announcing a few days later that it was some 44 million people who had fallen into poverty since the new price increases, and calling for a boost in international cooperation.

Caroline Atkinson, Director of External Relations at the IMF said at a recent press conference: “We are extremely concerned about rising food prices, particularly its impact on the poorest and most vulnerable, wherever they are, especially in low income countries but not only those countries”. Traditionally, the IMF, which is regarded as the watchdog for international finance, responsible for setting up structural adjustment programs to assist states affected by financial crises, does not intervene in matters of food insecurity.

So is the voice of the IMF significant in more than one way?

First, it demonstrates that agricultural issues, especially those related to the price volatility of agricultural commodities are currently considered by the international community as one of the main problems to solve short-term.

Then, it demonstrates that these issues concern all international institutions and indeed there is a real convergence among them. All agree that the price volatility of agricultural commodities and food price inflation are significant risks for all countries, be they developed, poor or developing.

Finally, it underlines the international community’s awareness of the urgency to expand current global agricultural institutions for governance such as the IMF. Objective: To address new issues such as the increasing financialisation of agricultural markets and speculation control on commodity markets, which have a direct impact on national and regional economic balance in terms of debt control, inflation and ultimately therefore, economic growth.

This current period is now a key moment because it offers the international community an unprecedented opportunity to initiate an overhaul of global agricultural governance on the basis expertise better coordinated among the various international institutions. This theme is at the heart of discussions at the G20 and it is essential that the issue of creating a worldwide organization for agriculture be clearly stated. This is the purpose of the second edition of "Dakar Agricole" to be held in the Senegalese capital on 18th- 19th April, which will lead to useful proposals for the forthcoming G20 Agricultural meeting scheduled for late June in France.
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Paris, 25 June 2019