G20 chair France calls for 'food independence'

18th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

France on Tuesday called for "food independence" for the developing world, saying that the old model of providing food aid from the rich North to the poor South to fight hunger had definitively failed.

"We need to radically change our way of fighting hunger," French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire told a press conference on the sidelines of talks at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome.

"Every country needs to have food independence," he said, underlining the need for higher levels of investment in farming and international cooperation as well as a "political and intellectual revolution."

"A euro invested in the genome sequencing of wheat that allows us to obtain a strain that is resistant to drought is more useful than a euro given simply as food aid," said the minister.

Le Maire said this was as much about poorer countries as richer countries since the developed world alone could not account for the 70-percent increase in food production needed to feed a growing population.

France has set food security and food price volatility high on its agenda as this year's chair of the G20 group of leading economies.

The southern French city of Cannes is to host a G20 summit on November 3-4.

© 2011 AFP

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