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Thursday, February 07, 2013

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"By encouraging free trade in a fair, rules-based, rigorously enforced system, governments can help ensure that food surpluses reach areas of deficit.
Oh yeah, that has really worked. That is why we have famine in Africa, India, N.Korea, and food riots in Europe.

It is in Cargill's unequivocal interest to promote this particular position, so with all due respect, this opinion should hardly be given much weight. I might suggest to readers that they look to sources from unbiased parties in order to make informed decisions as to what is the best vehicle for overcoming the utter shame of more than 1 billion under-nourished people a year. As starters, it might make sense to consider sources such as the Food and Agricultural Organization, which has far less of a vested self-interest in seeing the free flow of their own commodities. And oh, oddly enough, the FAO seems to very much identify the need for self-sufficiency as a means for food security given that the grow-the-food-elsewhere-and-ship-it-in-for-the-profit-of-the-non-domestic-grower-model seems to be a billion belly a year bust. Everyone can make their own decision as to whether it is better to trust self-interested mega-corporations whose actions are ultimately dictated by a drive for profit or, on the other hand, agencies and institutions who ultimately would simply like to see less kids going to bed hungry.

The pursuit of food self-sufficiency at national or regional levels undermines the increases in output a growing global population will require, inefficiently uses scarce natural resources and can cause significant environmental harm. At Cargill, we are working in collaboration with others to improve agricultural productivity and, importantly, bring best practices and technologies to those areas of the world, such as Africa, that currently are not fulfilling their agricultural potential.

Only about 15 percent of all the food produced in the world crosses international borders. That 15 percent is not causing food insecurity, it’s helping to relieve it. In fact, to improve global food and nutrition security, that percentage must increase. Global population growth is skewing towards areas that are not blessed with the natural resources required to produce food. Growing the right crops where the soils and climate are best suited and allowing open trade will provide the food that is needed, while minimizing the overall environmental impacts by reducing the resources and inputs required.

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About the Blog

The Global Food for Thought blog, twitter feed, and facebook wall, provide updated information, commentary, and analysis on breaking developments on international agriculture, food, and related issues.

The Chicago Council and the Global Agricultural Development Initiative do not endorse the opinions expressed in this blog, twitter, and facebook but merely provide a forum for this information, commentary, and debate.

Editor

Sung Lee
Sung serves as the editor of The Chicago Council's Global Food for Thought Blog.

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