U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer rolled out his three-pronged plan to fight rising global food costs at a press conference Monday in Rome at the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization Food Security Summit. The summit is designed to establish a global conversation on how to best address both the immediate and long-term effects of the current food crisis.
Schafer's plan emphasizes expanded humanitarian aid, addressing underlying causes of food prices such as energy and global cooperation for the free flow of food and safe technologies.
"Now is the time to lift trade-restrictive policy measures such as export restrictions," says Schafer. "While they are designed to increase short-term food security in the countries imposing the restrictions, these policies often have the opposite effect and only make the situation worse. They take food off the global market, drive up prices, and discourage farmers to respond to market signals."
Schafer also spoke about work to complete the Doha Round of global trade talks and addressed the concerns many have expressed about the role biofuels have in the world food situation.
"I look forward to hearing other perspectives on these important issues, so that together we can determine how best to work through the United Nations structure to increase the availability of food for all," Schafer says. The summit began Monday and runs through Wednesday.