A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Food crises in the 21st century:
A global issue of security (conference)

July 7, 2014

“Food crises in the 21st century: A global issue of security” was the title of the conference held on July 1, 2014 at the French National Institute for Advanced Studies in Security and Justice (INHESJ). This was a particularly bold topic, since we know that food security issues have become crucial and strategic, especially since the 2007/2008 food crisis.

Three speakers––Benoît Daviron, a researcher at the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD), Sébastien Jean, Director of the French Research Center in International Economics (CEPII), as well as Pierre Janin, a geographer and researcher at the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD)––had the tough assignment to address this especially sensitive topic.

While all participants agreed to consider global food security as a major strategic and security challenge for the 21st century, the causes explaining its occurrence, and the solutions to resolve it, are matters for debate. While agricultural market instability and price volatility were mentioned as amplifying factors of the 2007/2008 food crisis, Benoît Daviron prefers to further study the price rising trend rather than the sole volatility, since the crisis developed differently across countries and is an issue more related to demand than supply. In addition, a consensus seemed to prevail to agree that the WTO rules are not adapted to agricultural trade, how can we then allow nations––especially developing countries––to prevent market instability and, in fine, safeguard food security?

Intervention policies, especially border enforcement measures, that aim to soften domestic prices compared to global prices, represent detrimental measures, said Sébastien Jean. Solutions must be found regarding better regulation procedures––especially from governments––and the further development of a global food governance system, added Pierre Janin. More globally, pursuing better cooperation is crucial, since all involved are sharing the opinion that the worst crises are yet to occur.

A proper debate confronts various viewpoints, so the questions were many at the close of the conference. Jean-Christophe Debar, President of the French Foundation for World Agriculture and Rurality (FARM), thus reminded us that productivity factors should be considered as vital in addressing food security.

The conference could not have been exhaustive since the challenges concerning food security are complex and multiple. Yet it would be wasteful not to consider the detrimental consequences of the unregulated liberalization of agricultural trade in the past few years. It has further amplified the structural volatility of agricultural commodity prices, not only upward but also downward, and has worked against food security.

It would be dangerous to believe that market forces alone can ensure the food security of the future nine billion consumers, and provide farmers with “a clear long-term vision”. If we want to prevent tomorrow’s new food crises, building up a new action framework as well as pertinent steering tools to reconcile economic effectiveness and food security throughout the world, is now becoming all the more urgent.

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Paris, 24 June 2019