What did participants at the October Briefing think of the discussions? We asked for some reactions:
Pierre Berthelot, Director of the Coordination Unit for the All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme, underlined three main points. First, even if it’s clear that we are seeing an increase in food prices, agricultural prices are actually declining over the long run, as explained by Steve Wiggins in his presentation. Second, there is no need to panic; on the contrary, increases in food prices are also a great opportunity for farmers to increase their revenue. Third, it is important to reverse the trend of recent years and invest in R&D to increase agricultural productivity.
Marek Poznanski, from CSA, stressed the relevance of the Briefings in discussing very timely issues. He singled out one aspect that several speakers addressed during the debate – that the reduction of stocks has contributed to the current crisis. While this was mentioned several times, he did not feel that the causes of these reductions were addressed. In his opinion, the origins of this problem are mainly in the deregulated and liberalised policies that were put in place, in both developed and developing countries.
(video in French)
Tom Morgan from the Secretariat of the European Parliament Committee on Development found the Briefing to be extremely useful and well organized. He acknowledges the high level of the speakers and the participants. The key messages he took away were: The importance of investments in agriculture; the need for policies to adapt to the new reality we face; the need for comprehensive policies to deal with the issues; the fact that biofuels are not in themselves bad but that we need to slow down their production [on this point, see also the video interview with Steve Wiggins]; the importance of dialogue with developing countries; and the crucial role that farmers should play in these discussions.
See more from the 16 October Briefing