The first ever summit of the G20’s agriculture ministers has begun in Paris, and they are under the gun to decide on, among other issues, setting up emergency food reserves and imposing tougher regulation on commodity markets. The latter is a pet French project during its G20 presidency this year.
“Regulation is not a dirty word. A market without rules is not a market. What we have been able to do for the financial markets we have a duty to do for agricultural markets as well,” said French President and host Nicolas Sarkozy, who has blamed speculators for fuelling food price inflation.
Small farmers protested outside, saying promises made to them have been broken, and surging prices has not meant more money in their pockets.
“It’s time to take firm action to support more farmers and look at other issues creating the food crisis, such as speculation, or biofuels,” said Brazilian farmer Adriano Campolina.
Others insisted the rich G20 nations had no business making decisions for the world’s poor countries, where food security was the difference between life and death.