Commemorating World Food Day, Cargill is calling for coordinated action by governments, the private sector and civil society to ensure the continued improvement of food security across the globe.
“To reduce hunger in Asia, we look forward to additional positive changes adopted by all stakeholders. We also hope for more policies that eliminate the factors that contribute to people going hungry because they don’t have access or can’t afford the food they need,” said Alan Willits, corporate vice president, Cargill Agriculture Supply Chain.
“There is ample scope to increase food production and food trade. Today only about 16 per cent of the food produced globally crosses international borders. Creating a more food-secure world requires an open, fair and non-distorting trade system to allow more food to be transported from areas of surplus to areas of deficit. This would also help reduce price volatility by providing more supply when there are local shortages caused by factors like weather and natural disasters that can result in price spikes,” stated Mr. Willits.
Trade agreements can help instill confidence and enable countries to resist the temptation to pursue costly self-sufficiency, restrict exports or overbuying when supplies are tight. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and six other economies together established the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in 2012, setting the stage for a free trade agreement in Asia.
Research by the Asian Development Bank Institute shows that if the agreement includes agriculture and trade with non-member states, developing Asian countries would benefit by as much as US$52 billion per year in economic welfare.
Part of freer trade in agriculture will need to also include reductions in non-tariff barriers. In particular, policy makers need to urgently address the bewildering array of food standards that currently impede food trade, and focus on harmonizing rules around internationally accepted scientific standards.
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and nearly 150 years of experience. We have 145,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.