Anglican church leaders have written to G20 agriculture ministers to press for measures to combat high food prices ahead of the ministers’ meeting next week.
Control of the speculation in commodity trading that has pushed up food prices for the poorest people in the world, and more support for women farmers who form the majority of subsistence farmers are some of the measures that archbishops from G20 countries have urged their agriculture ministers to support.
The moves have come amidst mounting concern over the price spikes and food insecurity that have left 900 million people around the world hungry. The French President has put food on the agenda for the G20 meeting in November, and next week’s agriculture ministers meeting will seek an agreement on the way forward.
Ahead of the meeting letters to G20 agriculture ministers have been sent by:
- Most Rev Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane and Primate of Australia,
- The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and president of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, President, the Most Rev Fred Hiltz
- The Rt Rev Paul Keun-Sang Kim, the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Korea and Bishop of Seoul
- The Most Rev Purely Lyngdoh, Moderator, Church of North India and Bishop of North East India
- The Most Rev Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Capetown
- The Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, Arcbishop of Wales and Bishop of Llandaff
Welcoming the emerging consensus on the need for global action to reduce food price volatility and increase security, they call for a package of measures including:
- More support for small farmers – most of whom are women who produce 60 to 80 per cent of food in the poorest countries.
- More investment in agriculture, especially research and development
- Measures to stop speculation in food commodities.
- Better training, access to credit and markets, and insurance schemes for small farmers.
- Backing for recommendations that have come from agriculture ministers in developing countries.
- G20 countries to keep the promises of the 2009 Aquila Food Security Initiative to achieve clear targets for higher spending on agriculture: Canada being the one country that has a record of meeting the goal.
Advocacy on the global food crisis is being co-ordinated by the Anglican Alliance for development relief and advocacy. The Alliance brings together the work of the Anglican family of churches worldwide. It grew from a decision taken by the Lambeth conference in 2008 and started its formal operations in January this year. The decision on food advocacy came at its inaugural consultation meeting in Nairobi in April.