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|Newsletter WAF-update (PDF Version Here) December 2012
| Chief Minister Welcomes WAF to India
Mr. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, welcomed WAF Chairman Dr. Kenneth
Baker and WAF Advisory Board Chairman, Mr. James Bolger to a public meeting in
Parliament’s Jubilee Hall in Hyderabad and launched preparations for the WAF Congress &
Trade Fair in November 2013.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
will inaugurate the three-day conference on
7 November, 2013. The Chief Minister said
“the Andhra Pradesh Government is hosting
the World Agricultural Forum 2013 mainly
with a view to project the interests of the
small agriculturists of India and other such
developing countries in the context of
globalizing agricultural trade. Hence, the
theme chosen for WAF Congress 2013 Re-
shaping agriculture for a sustainable future:
focus on small farm-holders, is extremely
important”. He went on to say “we have
already initiated steps for making all
arrangements to make the WAF 2013
Congress a landmark event. We have
constituted a Ministerial Committee and
Secretaries Committee and The Chief
Secretary is monitoring the progress of the
Agriculture Ministers and Senior
Officials from other States attended the meeting and included Andhra Pradesh Agriculture
Minister Kanna Lakshminarayanan, Orisa Agriculture Minister, Devi Prasad Misra, Madhya
Pradesh Agriculture Minister, Mr Ramakrishna Babji, Major Industries Minister Dr. J.Geetha
Reddy and IT&C Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah all of whom addressed the meeting. Cooperation
Minister K Venkata Krishna Reddy, Minister for Law E Pratap Reddy, MLC P. Sudhakar Reddy,
Secretaries and top Agricultural officials from the Government of India, other States and Andhra
Pradesh also attended the meeting.
The Chief Minister in his remarks said “with the rapid spread of commercialization and
globalization in agriculture, the livelihoods of 138 Million farmers of India are being threatened
like never before. The extremely small size of holdings of just 1.16 ha per head make them
vulnerable for even small changes in the prices of inputs and outputs…..India is the largest
importer of Edible Oils in the world. Annually 12 Million tonnes of Edible Oil costing about US $
10 billion or Rs.55,000 crores is imported from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia,
Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, etc. Similarly, India also depends on the countries of Canada,
Australia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Myanmar, Cambodia for its pulse imports”. He continued
“agriculture still remains the most important occupation of Indians providing livelihood to 60% of
its population and contributing only 15% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”.
In welcoming the WAF 2013 Congress to India and officially launching the Congress brochure
the Chief Minister said, the World Agricultural Forum (WAF) is the foremost global agricultural
platform that initiates dialogue between those who can impact agriculture. The WAF is focused on
sustaining the lives and livelihood of the world’s population by meeting the growing needs for
food, fuel and fiber. On a global stage, the WAF produces one of the largest biennial gatherings
of leaders ready to implement innovation and positive changes addressing the world’s growing
population and respective agriculture shortages in both developed and developing nations.
Congress website: www.wafindia2013.com
|l to r: WAF’s Rt. Hon. James Bolger and Dr.
Kenneth Baker with Mr. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy,
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh at the Jubilee
Hall – photo Samuel Thomas
|Interested in sponsoring the WAF 2013 Congress
|Board News & Events
The WAF Board is saying goodbye to Mel Anderson, a
Board Member for the past six years who has decided there
are other calls in life. Comments Leonard Guarraia, Chairman
Emeritus, Mel, a former executive at
Anheuser Busch, among many other
tasks took responsibility for reviewing
WAF operating principles and made
many exploratory trips in order to
ensure the success of past
Congresses. Many thanks and we
wish you all success in the future
Mr. Mel Anderson Mel.
The last Board meeting of 2013 was held by teleconference
on the 18th December 2012 (or 19th December if you happen to
be in New Zealand). Among subjects tdiscussed were
organisational steps for and the recent Hyderabad launch of the
brochure for the 2013 World Congress and Trade Fair, other
outreach activities and steps to deal with the problems caused
by the roof cave-in and flooding of the WAF Office in St Louis.
|Advisory Board Member Appointed to
Prestigious Position at IFAMA
Mr. Thad Simons, Novus
President and CEO and Member of the
WAF Advisory Board, has been
named President Elect of the
International Food and Agribusiness
Management Association (IFAMA). He
will serve in this capacity leading up to
the 2013 IFAMA World Forum &
Thad Simons Symposium, which will be held in
Atlanta, Georgia June 17th-20th, 2013. Thad will officially
assume the role of President of IFAMA at the time of the IFAMA
Atlanta event in June 2013 .
|Upcoming Agricultural Conferences & Events
The following have been communicated to us
6th Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA 2013)
March 5th 2013, The Square Meeting Place, Brussels, Belgium
Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty
8 – 11 April 2013, Washington D.C.
International Food and Agribusiness Management
23rd Annual IFAMA World Forum and Symposium 16 – 20
June, 2013, Atlanta Georgia
9th European Conference on Precision Agriculture
7 – 11 July, 2013, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain
3rd Annual World Congress of Agriculture – 2013
Theme: The Key to Feeding the World
23 – 25 September 2013, Hangzhou, China.
|Global Food Security: The politics of food in the new
scarcity - Paolo De Castro – Member of the WAF Advisory Board
Paolo De Castro is an Italian academic and
politician. former Italian Minister of Agriculture,
Food and forestry Policies, in 2009 he was elected
to the European Parliament, and currently serves
as chair of the Parliament’s Committee on
Agriculture and Rural Development. He has also
served as professor of Agricultural Economics at
the University of Bologna.
Times have changed, and the world’s
problems need a global vision for action, says
Paolo De castro the chair of the EU Parliament Committee on
Agriculture and Rural Development .
The renewed position of food security at recent G8 and G20 Summits,
from L’Aquila in 2009 to Camp David in 2012, is an acknowledgement that a
more sophisticated coordination at global level is needed to meet the new
challenges, which are a sort of upside-down scenario in comparison to what
prevailed in the last years of the 20th century, when food seemed relatively
Since then many factors such as population growth as well as structural
changes in food demand have been driving a new scramble for farmland
and natural resources. In our book entitled The Politics of Land and Food
Scarcity my collaborators and I interpreted this as a paradigm shift from a
period of abundance to an era of new kind of scarcity.
What we left behind at the turn of the millennium was a trend of declining
food prices, which had started after the World War II, and lasted decades.
This long-term trend of price decreases seems over; the future will see
increases coexisting with a high level of short-term instability: the evidence is
the two food price crises in 2008 and 2010, affecting the world’s poor the
Everyone has to eat
However, in a globally integrated economy food security is no longer
exclusively a problem for those living with less than $1.25 per day and
spending the 70 per cent of their income to feed themselves and their family.
It is a global problem affecting every one of us.
In 2008 and 2010 the food industry also complained about shortages,
calling for a major political commitment in food security. The spike in cereal
price in 2010 has had a renowned role in triggering some of the so-called ’
Arab Awakening’ revolts, putting the epitaph ‘The End’ to some regional
balances of power that seemed immutable. The phrase ‘democracies of
bread’ was used by political scientists to refer to the Arab regimes of the
Middle & Near East and North Africa in Nasser’s day to highlight the bread
purchase subsidies as the seal of the social contract between rulers and
their subjects. It is certainly no coincidence that the ‘Arab Awakening’ was
initially triggered as riots for bread, a social symbol as well as a staple food.
In these recent months we are still watching the evolution of cereal prices
with some concern, waiting for the decisions of big net wheat-exporting
countries to see whether they will cap their exports or not.
In the era of abundance, when we talked about international trade our
priority was how to open borders; now the question is how to avoid strategic
commodity export restrictions. Only 15 years passed by, though it seems
Roadmap to progress
The challenges posed by the new scenario require its being played out at
two levels. At one level, we have to work on research and technological/
organisational transfer, and at the other level, we need to review national and
supranational policies that govern trade and food security.
From a policy perspective we also need to establish a roadmap for
enhancing natural resource governance. The UN-FAO Committee on
World Food Security (CFS) took a remarkable initial step with its
endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of
Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food
Security. For the first time an intergovernmental body, through a negotiation
process that involved all the parties from governments to civil society,
adopted principles and internationally accepted practices for a better
governance of natural resources.
| Even though this changing scenario is putting a strain on the
responsiveness of our economic and political systems, genuine political
action on the issue is yet to be taken. The Action Plan adopted in the 2011
G20 Summit is one of the elements onto which a scheme for coordinated
international commitments can be grafted.
This plan has already set the stage for the birth of the Agricultural Market
Information System (AMIS) to improve market transparency, and, within it,
groups such as the Rapid Response Forum that hopes to promote early
discussion about critical market conditions that can lead to common policies
to pre-empt food crises.
This type of transparency is important, but may not be sufficient by itself.
There is a need for a major coordination of food, agriculture and trade policy
at the international level, for instance by taking initiatives to limit unilateral
restrictive trade policies, such as the grain export caps put in place by India
in 2008 or Russia in 2010, or more thoroughly discussing proposals such
as the creation of an international system of emergency supplies, based on
food reserves organised at a macro-area level. These ideas have been
discussed, but unfortunately they remain on paper thus far.
It is difficult to talk about coordination when referring to agriculture and food
policies. For many reasons they are very closely linked to national interests,
and as such very sensitive. Nevertheless, we should also become aware of
the fact that the problems affecting the global food system cannot be solved
by unilateral local solutions without a global vision, which has been the main
shortcoming of the policies in tackling the food price volatility in recent years.
Read More: The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity, edited by Paolo
De Castro, Felice Adinolfi, Fabian Capitanio, Salvatore Di Falco, and Angelo
Di Mambro, Published 22nd October 2012 by Routledge – 168 pages
|The Last Word
Gary Blumenthal reflects on the “excuses and solutions to food insecurity”
Excuses for food insecurity include biofuels, land grabbing, speculators,
greedy agribusiness and climate change. Proposed solutions include
creating a right to food, food sovereignty and helping small scale farmers.
Yet countries with large, privately held farms, systems of financial risk
management and relatively free terms of trade are the most food secure,
whereas the least food secure have highly protected, small scale agriculture.
World Bank research during the last food price spike (Policy Research
Working Paper 4457) showed that with the exception of those countries
undergoing civil strife, only six low-income countries had food deficits
greater than 10 percent of their imports. The good news is that significant
progress is being made in improving the food trade balances of poor
Wrong Indicator: FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva claims
that the world is now better able to deal with food price spikes because of the
Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). However, those gambling
billions of dollars on the direction of food prices still use the WASDE, the
same tool that adequately warned everyone about the 2007/08
Mr. Gary Blumenthal
President and CEO, World Perspectives,
Inc. Former Deputy Assistant for Cabinet
Affairs and Special Assistant to President
George H.W. Bush for Agricultural Trade and
Chief of Staff at USDA, Foreign
Agricultural Service, U.S. Air Force
and U.S. Congress
|Editors note: The views expressed in this newsletter are the
responsibility of their individual authors, nevertheless, the
WAF hopes that by publishing, they will lead to a greater
debate around agriculture
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