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

When the trading elite sheds light on its activities…

April 29, 2013


A summit on the commodity trading business was held in Lausanne on April 15 to 17. Hosted by The Financial Times (FT) and scheduled to become an annual event, the meeting aims to incite the leaders of major trading houses to speak publicly and provide the general public with a better understanding of their activities. These international traders––among which the agricultural commodity marketer Cargill––would like to use this initiative to revive an image that is often associated to speculation and market manipulation.

Whichever the apparent value of such an initiative, the reputation of opacity of these shadow traders will persist as long as a genuine effort of transparency is not achieved. Gregory Page, Chairman and CEO of Cargill, thus calls for the moralization and accountability of the industry. Yet, while this willingness to communicate is indeed genuine, what about actual commitments to improve transparency of international agricultural markets?

A declaration of good intentions is not a decree. At a time when speculation on food products is denounced in Europe, when derivatives are singled out for a lack of transparency and when OTC markets are accused of increasing price volatility, the issue of transparency and regulation is indeed a legitimate one. The growing financialization and its adverse practices––excessive speculation and hyper-volatility among others––have, for the past 15 years, gone hand in hand with progressive and uncontrolled deregulation, and have been amplified by the liberalization of international trade and increased indebtedness by farmers.

During this summit, a leader from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also expressed the wish to “alleviate the impact of major trading houses on markets.” Such statement might send a warning at a time when commodity trading should soon experience new regulatory cuts.

The transparency and oversight of agricultural derivatives markets are crucial, if we do not wish to let a handful of unscrupulous players and investors decide on the fate of agriculture and global food security. Consequently, stabilizing agricultural policies are required to fight agricultural price volatility and provide farmers with adequate incomes. And the responsibility rests with all players to safeguard global agricultural balance.
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Paris, 13 December 2018