G20 Agriculture Ministers To Discuss Curbing Volatile Food Prices As World Bank Launches Food Price Hedging Tool
“G20 farm ministers meet in Paris on Wednesday to review steps to curb food price volatility amid doubts France will win unanimous backing for a cornerstone proposal to tighten regulation for commodity markets,” Reuters reports.
Though G20 countries have agreed that rising food prices need to be contained, they have not yet reached agreement over how this should be done, the news service writes. “A source close to the French negotiations said on Tuesday that France’s Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire was making back-to-back telephone calls to G20 peers to clinch a deal that also includes proposals to improve market transparency and global policy coordination and set up humanitarian food stocks” (Maitre/de La Hamaide, 6/21).
The G20 meeting “comes a day after the World Bank unveiled a new measure to provide protection from volatile food prices in developing countries,” the BBC notes (6/22). TheÂ bank and “J.P. Morgan are setting aside $200 million each to help finance what World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick described as ‘plain vanilla hedges,’ allowing agriculture-related businesses in developing nations to lock in prices well in advance of a harvest or commodity purchase,” the Washington Post reports. “Because of the way such financial products work, the money put up by the World Bank and J.P. Morgan will provide as much as $4 billion in financing to farmers and food companies, Zoellick said” (Schneider, 6/21).