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France/Brazil/price volatility/food security

Published on October 25, 2010
Agricultural price volatility, land preservation and climate change – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries

Paris, October 14, 2010

In the framework of the strategic partnership between France and Brazil and at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) meeting in Rome, Bruno Le Maire, Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Guilherme Cassel, Brazilian Minister of Agrarian Development, presented a joint contribution focusing on three major challenges: agricultural price volatility, land tenure policy and climate change.

On this basis, the ministers are keen to see the FAO make a strong contribution to the G20’s work, particularly in the framework of the future French presidency.

France-Brazil joint position “price volatility and food security”

Brazil and France believe that in order to reduce price volatility and improve food security, impetus must be given to the following action:

- monitoring global cereal stocks, on the basis of information and databases managed by the relevant international organizations, including the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The aim is to have reliable, transparent and updated information which can underpin national strategies and serve as a reference for coordinating action on global food security governance;

- encouraging the creation of national and regional stocks;

- encouraging the creation of innovative financial mechanisms to protect family farmers from price volatility, including through the use of price guarantee mechanisms;

- improving the regulation of agricultural commodity derivative markets; and

- attenuating the effect of price volatility on the most underprivileged.

Brazil and France are asking the CFS to mandate the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) to determine accurately the impact of agricultural price volatility on food security, explain the main determining factors and formulate proposals on action and tools for managing price-related risks.
The HLPE should base its contribution in particular on:

- an analytical summary of the available studies on the causes of agricultural price volatility, the measures and tools designed to anticipate and reduce it, instantly or in the long term, and manage the attendant risks, paying particular attention to their applicability at the different levels (local, regional and international);

- existing systems of price and quantity statistics (harvest forecasts, main basic food product stocks, etc.).

The HLPE is also asked to consider methods of coordinating the international bodies, to ensure the coherence of their work and positions on the management of agricultural price volatility and its impact on food security, and make constructive proposals.

France and Brazil would like the CFS to use the HLPE input to draw up recommendations on agricultural price volatility and food security.

France and Brazil would also like the FAO to contribute on all these subjects to the discussions on the international agenda starting in 2011, particularly in the G20 framework.

France and Brazil consider that speculative land purchases must be prevented and a framework provided for foreign investment for food production and exports to investing countries.

Without this framework, investments will very probably not address the challenges of food security: to produce food while creating jobs and protecting the environment.

To do this, the model of diversified family farming producing food must be promoted and reinforced, and land users’ rights recognized and respected.

This is why Brazil and France take the view that work of the FAO on the “Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources”, and that of the World Bank, International Agricultural Development Fund (IADF) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the “Principles for Responsible Investment in agriculture” must be encouraged.

International initiatives on establishing the Guidelines and Principles must encourage creation and consolidation of national regulation on the issue, drawing on the approach and principles of the final declaration of the FAO International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD).

Indeed Brazil and France consider that the most effective way of preventing speculative land purchases and regulating foreign agricultural investment for food production and export to the investing countries is to establish a specific national regulatory framework.

Brazil and France take the view that land purchases and rentals are not the only instruments for addressing the demand for food in source countries for investment.

The investing/net food-importing countries and countries with surpluses could reconcile their interests and satisfy the former’s food needs by signing bilateral partnership agreements designed to develop the host country’s agricultural sector, including family farming, and guarantee supplies of food to the importing countries.

These agreements should strive to fulfil national objectives for food security, rural development and access to land, and guarantee the rights of local and native communities, creation of employment in rural areas and environmental protection in the countries receiving the investment. In this context, the investing countries could make available a financial auxiliary and/or technical assistance mechanism so as to facilitate adherence to these objectives.

Brazil and France would like to see the CFS refer to the HLPE the issue of agricultural land management. To ensure the HLPE’s work on this complements that under way at international level, detailed consideration should be given to the following topics in the framework of a multidisciplinary approach:

- updating information on land purchases by foreigners in developing countries: volume of land bought and rented, forms of the acquisitions, type of investment carried out, ways of enhancing the value of local resources, etc.;

- economic, social and environmental impacts of large-scale land-purchase, land-leasing and land-use operations in developing countries;

- comparative analysis of land taxation tools and legal instruments to provide a framework for agricultural investment and land tenure practices in order to identify the most effective tools.

On the basis of the HLPE’s input, France and Brazil would like the CFS to formulate recommendations on food security and land tenure policy.

Brazil and France consider it necessary to take measures of a different nature, basically, to reduce the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate the development of the low-carbon economy and resilience to climate change. Agriculture must demonstrate its strategic role by reducing its own contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, adapting agricultural practices to climate changes, managing the risks and seeking to attenuate the effects of climate change.

France and Brazil share the objective of strengthening sustainable agricultural models in order to address the challenges of climate change, from both the economic and environmental and social points of view, promoting family farming, agronomical practices using less fossil fuel and emitting fewer greenhouse gases, as well as developing more short marketing channels.

France and Brazil also consider that interaction between climate change and food security is not confined to the sole question of agricultural production, but also embraces employment, income, nutrition, health, stability and environmental sustainability. Hence intersectoral consultation is essential.

Brazil and France consider that the CFS has to play a prominent part in discussions of proposals on climate change and food security at international level. France and Brazil are keen to see the November Rome summit’s recommendations followed up in the CFS framework. In particular, France and Brazil are asking for the CFS to mandate the HLPE to provide a report for its 2011 session detailing the potential impact of climate change on short-, medium- and long-term food security, so that it can formulate proposals to reduce it (adaptation).

The HLPE will need to use as a basis for its proposals:
- assessments of the impacts of climate change on food security, globally but above all in the regions most affected (modifications of production areas, production variability, consequences for local, regional and world markets, impacts on production chains, nutrition and employment);

- proposed ways in which agricultural systems, production chains and their economic environment can be adapted. It will pay particular attention to the institutional, economic, financial, R&D and decision-making tools which can be used for this purpose.

It would be especially useful for the HLPE to take a critical look at coordination between the international bodies and the consistency of their work and positions on climate change and food security, and particularly at the studies already carried out by the IPCC.

France and Brazil are also keen for the CFS to use the HLPE’s input to draw up recommendations relating to climate change and food security. These recommendations should be communicated to the international bodies dealing with climate change, and in particular the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)./.

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