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World Bank weighs in to ‘food versus fuel’ debate

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned that high food prices are threatening to undo seven years of progress in global poverty reduction. Zoellick has encouraged donor countries to take immediate action to increase funding to the UN World Food Programme and coordinate a ‘New Deal on World Food Policy’. The World Bank has released a new analysis which points the finger squarely at biofuels as the prime cause of the recent surge in global commodity prices. … Read the rest

World Bank weighs in to 'food versus fuel' debate

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned that high food prices are threatening to undo seven years of progress in global poverty reduction. Zoellick has encouraged donor countries to take immediate action to increase funding to the UN World Food Programme and coordinate a ‘New Deal on World Food Policy’. The World Bank has released a new analysis which points the finger squarely at biofuels as the prime cause of the recent surge in global commodity prices. … Read the rest

Food security: woolly thinking and self defeating solutions

As Jack Thurston has well exposed in his recent entry, the “food security” argument seems to be the new rally call for those trying to justify continuation of untargetted payments to farmers, or even a return to production support (albeit disguised as “risk management”, “income insurance” and the like). At a recent debate I was struck by the fact that the “food security” threat, and hence the need to support further agriculture intensification was almost universally endorsed, including by “CAP reformers”. While Jack has given a powerful argument for refuting the neo-Malthusian scaremongering about looming food shortage, you don’t actually need to believe in a future of plenty to call the bluff on this line of reasoning.… Read the rest

European Parliament takes aim at CAP direct payments

A new report commissioned by the Budget Committee of the European Parliament makes interesting reading. The report, written by Jorge Núñez Ferrer (a former Commission fonctionnaire) and Eleni A. Kaditi, both of the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, aims to asses whether the CAP provides ‘added value’. Núñez Ferrer and Kaditi define this as whether “the benefits outweigh the costs, not only of implementing the policy, but also the costs created in other areas.” The authors don’t pull their punches, particularly when it comes to direct payments which, costing some €30 billion a year, are by far the biggest ticket item in the CAP.… Read the rest

Is EU biofuels policy worth the candle?

The Commission will announce next Wednesday (January 23rd) its proposals on how it intends to allocate the burden of cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and of increased use of renewables among Member States. Its draft Directive (so far without the crucial percentage shares) reiterates the mandatory target that biofuels should account for 10 per cent of transport fuels in the EU-27 by 2020. There has been intense lobbying by industries, environment groups and member states in the run-up to this announcement. However, there is increasing scepticism that its biofuel plans make much sense in the context of its climate change targets, and environmental groups have called for the target to be abandoned.… Read the rest

Public supports ‘consumer agenda’ in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring farmers against unpredictable market conditions and preserving small family farms.… Read the rest

Public supports 'consumer agenda' in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring farmers against unpredictable market conditions and preserving small family farms.… Read the rest

Agflation goes mainstream

A report on the UK’s Channel 4 News looks at likely increases in the prices of meat in the UK and elsewhere, as a result of increases in world cereals prices. A subject that has been discussed for several months here on CAP Health Check has entered the mainstream. View the report below the fold, including a short clip of me explaining the impact of changing diets in China. See also a feature story in The Guardian, drawing on neo-Malthusian Lester Brown’s latest book ‘Who will feed China?’… Read the rest