G-20 Agriculture Leaders Talk Future Food Policy
By Chris on June 23, 2011
Agriculture leaders from the G-20 gathered this week in a first meeting of it’s kind. So what was on their plates?
With the two-day meeting now wrapped up in Paris, we can use Recorded Future to quickly get a general idea of the prominent issues:
At least as described by the media, the subjects up for debate were largely focused on food security, trade, and energy. A good overview, but if you’re deep on the issues or just track agriculture news then it’s probably nothing groundbreaking.
So, what else would be interesting to analyze on a large scale in attempting to understand the issues at hand? Let’s start by looking at what issues the different agriculture heads have been grappling with domestically during recent weeks. Do the themes being expressed by media coverage match up with recent activity from agriculture ministers themselves?
Below, you’ll find a network view depicting recent quotations (last seven days) coming from the head of the agriculture departments for the each of the US, Australian, Indonesian and French governments.
Now that we’ve organized what issues have been discussed by several of the leaders approaching the Paris summit, and we immediately find distinct domestic issues at hand for each.
The big focus for US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack lately appears to be on biofuels and alternative energy. Meanwhile Joe Ludwig (Australia) and Suswono (Indonesia) have been hashing out trade deals with neighboring countries, and French Minister of Agriculture Bruno Le Maire appears to have been largely focused on setting the stage for the G-20 meeting given the linkages to a topic like “food security”.
How do these statements tie in (or diverge) from the stated primary goal of the G20 summit to stabilize food costs? Well, most of the prominent issues certainly match up in their localized way. Alternative fuels are one hypothesized solution to reducing food prices based on transportation costs, and trade agreements could get food commodities to different countries on the cheap.
Lastly, let’s get a big picture look at what the leadership group is saying about the future so that we can map out some key time points expected down the road:
Again, lots of thematically relevant domestic goals, but not much on the global angle aside from French minister Le Maire talking about broad agricultural commodity regulation.
Reports emerging at the end of the meeting suggest that some sort of agreement has been reached on means to stabilize global food prices, but like any critical issue between debated by economies with vastly different perceived needs, the speed of action seems uncertain. Actual government action will be important to track from a risk analysis point of view as food security has shown to be an incendiary and destabilizing issue even in seemingly steady countries (see the early stages of Tunisian unrest).
Is the the future of food security issues something you’d like to follow? Sign up for a Futures alert by visiting this view on food security and selecting “Create Future”.