Smith Hails Work Of World Development Movement

16 September 2011

Alyn Smith MEP has given his support to the World Development Movement (WDM) in their aim to tackle the complex and important effects of speculation and EU regulation on food commodities markets and world food prices.

Speaking after the WDM’s Regulation, Speculation and World Food Prices event where he was a panel member, Alyn said:
“It is a pleasure to work with the World Development Movement on such a worthwhile issue; in a time of cynicism it’s inspirational to meet people who are committed to making the world a better place. They campaign so strongly, they keep our eyes focused on the job in hand and, with their help, we will make this a better world.

“We must see better regulation of financial markets and action against food price speculation if we are to prevent huge increases in food prices. Although this is certainly not the only reason for the very sharp food price increases we have witnessed recently, speculation on future food prices in unregulated commodities markets is a major factor.

“World food price inflation is caused by a perfect storm of factors: there’s the impact of biofuels, changes to crop yields due to climate change, energy prices given our petrochem dependent agriculture and even currency fluctuations. They’ve all got an impact but regulating the markets seems like a logical first step worth taking.

“We also need to tackle the crazy scenario where farmers in Africa are using their land to grow roses for our Valentine’s Day rather than food for their neighbours. In a continent plagued by famine, that is obscene. This isn’t just a missed opportunity for African farmers; the carbon footprint is huge and also unnecessary.

“You only have to look at the uprisings in the Arab Spring to see the effects of rising food prices. What we have seen in those countries has, to some extent, been down to a longing for democracy but I believe that the root cause of these uprisings is much more basic than this and food prices have played a huge part.

“We’ve got a chance to make a difference now; we should grab it with both hands.”