APEC officials and private sector leaders met yesterday to discuss how economies can work together to ensure food security in the region in light of growing populations, insufficient gains in agricultural productivity, and limited natural resources, particularly water.
Participants in a special APEC High-Level Dialogue on Food Security on May 18, 2012, convened by U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman, emphasized the importance of avoiding policies and practices that encourage speculation and contribute to increased price volatility by preventing markets from performing their price-finding role, such as restricting exports, hoarding or stockpiling food, and unduly subsidizing production.
Participants noted that APEC economies must work together to encourage information sharing on market conditions. Food security depends, in part, on farmers receiving the right market-based price signals to drive production and investment decisions.
“Open and transparent trade plays a critical role in ensuring global food security,” said Ambassador Kurt Tong, APEC Senior Official for the United States. “It is critical that we adopt policies in the Asia-Pacific region that let global market signals work.”
Ambassador Tong also emphasized the critical role that the private sector can play in addressing this issue.
Participants also conducted a detailed discussion regarding steps that APEC might take, including capacity building, training and public-private partnerships to mitigate post-harvest losses.