As part of the conference organized by Coop de France1 on 28th and 29th November, several participants, including Hafez Ghanem, Assistant Director-General of the FAO, Catherine Vautrin, Representative from la Marne, and Hubert Grallet, President of Coop de France, discussed on theme “grain storage, a vital function.”
Following the discussions that took place during the Agricultural G20 last June, the various participants once again emphasized the importance of storage policies. Hafez Ghanem also stressed the distinction between two types of stocks: While buffer stocks are aimed at stabilizing prices by massive grain buying and selling when prices are too high or too low; emergency stocks are designed to support the most vulnerable consumers in times of crisis.
Because of the major difficulties - financial, technical but also political – for setting up buffer stocks2, UN agencies are currently focusing on the development of humanitarian stocks. It is in this context that a project for humanitarian stocks was launched by the member states of ECOWAS3.
With agricultural price volatility is on the increase, it is absolutely necessary to continue the work initiated during the Agricultural G20, particularly on the subject of buffer stocks in order to permanently leave behind the “0 stock” logic that has prevailed in recent decades and has led to, among other factors, increased food insecurity and market instability.
The question that remains now is how to balance the objectives of different storage policies to ensure both food security for the population and effective market regulation. To do this, it is absolutely necessary to increase transparency on stocks, and examine the different mechanisms that have been set up around the world.
2 See momagri’s article “Food reserves, yes but in which framework?” : http://momagri.fr/UK/points-of-view/Food-reserves-yes-but-in-which-framework-_718.html
3 See momagri’s article “Emergency food stocks in West Africa”: http://momagri.fr/UK/a-look-at-the-news/Emergency-food-stocks-in-West-Africa_988.html