G20 countries are to step in to try and co-ordinate a response to surging food prices, after the worst US drought in half a century devastated crops in the world’s largest agricultural exporter.
The conversations behind closed doors among senior G20 and UN agriculture officials about calling a session of a new emergency forum come after the cost of corn, or maize, surged to an all-time high, surpassing the level seen during the 2007-08 food crisis.
The US government on Friday stoked the fears of a price surge, saying the drought had forced the country’s farmers to abandon cornfields covering a larger area than Belgium and Luxembourg combined. The Department of Agriculture slashed its forecast for the crop and predicted record prices over the next year.
And when Barack Obama arrives in corn-growing Iowa for a three-day tour on Monday, he will be entering a fierce debate in the run-up to the presidential election on whether the grain is worth more as food or biofuel.
G20 officials plan to hold a conference call in the week of August 27 to discuss a meeting, which could be held in late September or early October, according to four officials familiar with the conversations.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page