THERE WAS a glimmer of good news in the global food price crisis when Japan announced it will release a portion of its imported rice stockpile and the High Level UN Food and Agriculture Organization secured financial commitments for short-term food aid and increased research and development into new seeds and the distribution of fertilizer to small farmers. Nonetheless, the dismal state of affairs in the global food situation underscores the need for US leadership in addressing a world agricultural system that is facing new challenges and a painful transition.
The United States can lead the way in achieving lasting global food security with a renewed commitment to long term investment in agricultural development in the world’s poorest nations. Japan, as host nation of this week’s Group of Eight summit and with US concurrence, must go further than its earlier announcements on rice and release up to 1 million tons of its current stockpile. Key rice producers around the world, including India, Pakistan, and Vietnam, should follow suit and fulfill their recent promises to tap their own surpluses to feed the global market.
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