"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

OECD and FAO Free-Trade Wizards Announce "The End of Cheap Food"

In a joint press conference by the FAO and the Paris-based OECD, one of these pagan temples where the free trade wizards live, FAO's Director General Jacques Diouf presented the joint report "Agriculture Perspectives of the OECD and the FAO for 2008-2017."

The setting and the faces of the speakers were reminiscent of Rembrandt's painting {Syndics of the Cloth Guild}. Angel Gurria of the OECD gave the opening speech blaming sovereign nations' protectionism as the real source for the "spike in the hike of food prices." The OECD/FAO report basically lies, saying that in the short term next year's prices might fall slightly (due to better weather conditions, and rice production is expected to be fruitful), while in general, says Gurria, we have reached the "end of cheap food." In any case, the time has come to get rid of too much subsidized agriculture, "which is damaging the rural development of the poorest nations." Therefore, only a swift conclusion at the WTO Doha Round can "explode the potential of the markets."

On the positive side, both the OECD and the FAO consider that the usefulness of biofuels has been overestimated. Supposedly useful to guarantee "energy security," lower CO2 emissions, and favor rural development, the OECD's Loek Boonekamp told the press that from the energy standpoint, biofuels' efficiency was lower than expected and that, according to OECD calculations, the "biofuel policy" is responsible for one-third of the price increase in food commodities, while the rest comes from too much protectionism.

Diouf said he expected that the FAO summit would include around 40 heads of state, a total of 2,500 participants, and representatives of at least 151 nations. Diouf then read a tasteless statement, distributed to those present, entitled "Notes to the Intention of Mr. Diouf," indicating that the OECD wizards cooked it up for him beforehand. Diouf said that the FAO summit on June 3-5 will evaluate the level of food security "posed by the challenges of global warming and bio-energies." Picking up on the OECD's free trade mantra, which claims that higher prices will increase net income for poor farmers in the poor nations, Diouf said projections indicate that "despite the current situation of prices, or maybe because of high prices, the food available per capita will increase on a world scale, which is the case of the production and consumption of animal products in a great number of developing countries. The prices of basic food stuffs will return to lower prices than the current level." However, even if prices will initially slightly drop, "they will remain clearly higher than the last decade. Price inflation is currently high and could even rise more on the short term, to the degree that the current rise of basic food stuffs will impact on the totality of the food chain. For many countries, this represents a major threat for the food security of their populations. ... That explains why certain countries took draconian measures to protect their populations, even if these measures did nothing than increase instability of prices on the world market. The increase of prices now results in the increase of famine and civil unrest and, as the report indicates, it is worrisome that this situation continues."

The first question came from the Paris correspondent of the {Irish Farmer} newspaper, who asked if Barnier's proposals for using the CAP as a model was compatible with what was said. OECD's Loek Boonekamp exclaimed "absolutely incompatible!"

EIR correspondent Karel Vereycken then asked the panel, "Why has the FAO convoked all these heads of state to Rome, since it claimed markets alone were sufficient to solve the food issues? More seriously, tell me what the FAO expects these heads of state to do in order to double world food production in order to feed the 9 billion people who will need it? Free trade and globalization has brought us to the current famine, don't you think we need a change of policy instead of more handouts? Also, don't you think it is contradictory to cut funding for the joint FAO/IAEA division on Food and Agriculture at a time when the world needs the best of nuclear isotopic science to increase world production?"

Merrit Cluff said he "never expected such a question" and declared himself incompetent to answer it. On the FAO summit, he said the FAO is not telling anyone to do anything, but just wants states to "increase their cooperation."

After the question period, a delegate of the French Agriculture Ministry came to see Vereycken, saying, "They didn't answer your question!" Vereycken also gave a copy of {Nouvelle Solidarite} with Claudio Celani's article on "Benitofuels" to the correspondent of the Brazil's daily {O Globo}, who was jumping on the call by Helga Zepp-LaRouche to double food production and all our documentation on the fraud of biofuels. An African journalist also approached Vereycken to tell him that "what Barnier talks about is the model."