Monday, April 27, 2009

G8 Agricultural Ministerial

Secretary Vilsack and other government agricultural leaders can be commended for the recent Group of Eight (G8) Agricultural Ministers Meeting in Italy. Vilsack noted in his press release that "This meeting, the first of its kind in the G8's history, underscores the important role that agriculture will play in the coming months and years, as we look for ways to improve global food security."

The importance of sustainable development in food security appears throughout the final declaration achieved at the meeting.
Ensuring access to adequate food and water is essential for sustainable development and for our future. . . .

We underline the importance of increasing public and private investment in sustainable agriculture, rural development and environmental protection in cooperation with international organisations. It is essential to tackle climate change impacts and ensure sustainable management of water, forests and other natural resources, while considering demographic growth.

We call for enhanced support including investments in agricultural science, research, technology, education, extension services, and innovation. We also commit ourselves to increasingly share technology, processes and ideas with other countries in the interest of increasing the capacity of national and regional institutions and governments, as well as promoting food security. These efforts are vital to increasing sustainable agricultural productivity and rural development in each country, in accordance with various agricultural conditions, respecting biodiversity and improving peoples’ access to food, social and economic development and prosperity.
Recognizing the importance of global food security, it is critical for world leaders to work together to promote the careful use of limited natural resources while also increasing food production.

Several issues come to mind -
  • Secretary Vilsack recognizes global food security and battling world hunger as critical to our national security. How can this be reconciled with energy policy that relies on corn-based ethanol?
  • Moreover, in a hungry world, why do we support an agricultural policy that promotes the production of corn for high fructose corn syrup, industrial uses, and cheap feed for livestock?
  • Which technologies can aid world wide food production and which produce only illusory gains? This last issue will be the basis of future post. Stay tuned . . .

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