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Report Calls For Government to Expedite Trade Agreements

Global Harvest Intiative brief addresses food security issues.

Published on: May 10, 2011

The Global Harvest Initiative has published a report titled, "Removing Barriers to Global and Regional Trade in Agriculture."  This is the second of five issue briefs outlining policies to sustainably increase the rate of agricultural productivity and address hunger and food security in anticipation of a global population surge to over 9 billion people by 2050. The report highlights the critical importance of improving food and agricultural trade flows to counter the impact on agricultural supply resulting from changing weather patterns, urban population shifts, and limitations of water, land and inputs, among other factors.

The brief proposes recommendations for eliminating trade barriers and calls for a more active leadership role by the U.S. Government in finalizing and expediting multilateral, bilateral, and regional trade agreements. The report says, encouraging and strengthening trade agreements will result in increased market access and the more efficient production of agricultural goods, thereby greatly improving global food security.

Susan Sechler, Managing Director of TransFarm Africa, says uninhibited trade flows allow agricultural surpluses to reach areas of critical need that are just a border away in some cases. On the other hand, trade restrictions amplify price volatility, leading to hoarding and even higher prices.

"The urgency of hunger issues and food insecurity today is perhaps greater than ever, and these already notable challenges are exacerbated by barriers and export restrictions that reduce trade in foodstuffs," Sechler said.

According to Global Harvest consultative partner Charles "Joe" O'Mara Today the balance between agricultural supply and demand is dangerously close, which increases market volatility and the potential for localized or regional events to have global impact on food security. He says to sustainably meet future demand we must address counterproductive trade policies including export restrictions, high tariffs and restrictive quotas on food imports, and restrictive import measures on equipment and modern technology that would improve agriculture productivity worldwide.