Farm Groups Oppose Agricultural Free Markets

At the G20 meeting earlier this month, farm organization argued for a restriction of agriculture liberalization in order to guarantee global food security. The G20 meeting, which took place in Paris, was initially called to discuss efforts, spearheaded by France, to stabilize food prices, particularly in the wake of stagnating supply and fluctuating demand.

Some farm organizations, headed by the EU’s Copa-Cogeca, a union of agricultural coops, have argued that further liberalization of agricultural policy would lead to more price instability and food insecurity. It is current free market policies, they argued, that are the cause of current agricultural instability. Paolo Bruni, President of the Copa-Cogeca, claimed that, “The World Trade Organization is not working. It’s not working because many countries believe that agriculture can be treated just like any other economic sector. The market needs rules; it cannot be left to work for itself.”

Some members of the G20 seemed to take that message to heart. French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated last week that commodity markets need to be more transparent and needed better regulation, hinting that free markets are not the solution to agricultural problems.  However, it seems unlikely that G20 nations will fully support protective measures and strict regulation, particularly nations that benefit from current free trade agreements.

Simply focusing on opening markets, however, is not enough, some farm advocacy groups claim. The G20 and other developing nations need to consider what their agricultural trade policies do to third world farmers in addition to considering the long-term ramifications of their market policies.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer