Monday, 21 April 2008

Head of the World Trade Organization calls for aid policies to be refocused to improve agriculture

Speaking to the BBC 19/04 and in the week that the world woke up to the food price crisis, Mr Lamy's, demand is radical. The Chief of the World Trade Organisation said food aid needed to be increased but, more than that, improvements in agriculture needed to be put back at the heart of development spending. He said it was complex and could not be done overnight.
The shift in emphasis is essential. As far as development assistance is concerned, agriculture has not been the main focus of the last decade and has to be the main focus of the coming times.
Mr Lamy said he believed that after seven years of negotiations, the Doha round, a new deal designed to make trade freer and fairer for the poorest countries, could be achieved.
But the immediate reaction of a number of countries to the food price shock has been in the other direction, with France wanting higher subsidies for farmers, and a number of food-exporting countries imposing restrictions on exports.