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International Cooperation Needed To Ensure Food Security

After “a sharp rise in maize prices, triggered by the worst drought in the last 50 years in the U.S. Midwest, [one year ago] sent shock waves through the international food markets raising fears that food prices would spiral out of control,” “[t]he outlook for international food markets finally looks brighter today, at least for consumers,” U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva writes in the Huffington Post’s “World” blog. He discusses positive FAO predictions regarding cereal production and market resiliency. “It is also important to recognize the role of global governance in this positive development, by increasing transparency, market information and helping control factors that had led to price spikes before,” noting the actions of the Agricultural Market Information System, the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security, and the Committee on World Food Security.

However, “[i]nternational prices are still higher than their historical trend,” and “if high food prices are the new normal, then governments need to adapt to this situation by increasing resilience of the poorer populations and by strengthening social protection programs, including cash transfers,” Graziano da Silva writes. “The current period of relative calm on international markets gives an opportunity to reflect on a more considered assessment of how the international community can best respond to food price volatility and work together to make sure that food prices, higher or lower, do not have a negative impact on food security,” he writes, noting the FAO is meeting October 7 “to do just that” (10/5).