Tomasi: International effort needed to prevent food crisis

2012-08-14 Vatican Radio

Australia's weather bureau says there are clear signs El Nino is developing in the eastern Pacific, raising concerns over the potential impact of the weather event on agriculture at time of soaring global food prices. Prices are already up because of a drought in the United States and other food-exporting countries. Leading members of the Group of 20 nations were planning to hold a conference call at the end of August over soaring grain prices, aiming to avoid a repeat of the food price spike that triggered riots in poorer countries in 2008.

“Above all, we need to respect life and therefore make available for every person a minimum of food so that life may be possible,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva. “The G20 that may meet in the next couple of months to address the issue of food in the world will have to take into account some of these considerations that are coming from…the social doctrine of the Church, and the voice of the Pope, especially in his latest social encyclical Caritas in Veritate.”

He told Vatican Radio the problem of universal access to affordable food and water needs to be at the forefront of the international agenda.

“ Water and food are a human right that needs to be respected, and therefore the policies have to be developed to prevent the excessive use of agricultural products for biofuels, ethanol in particular, or the speculation in markets for exceptional profits at the expense of fair distribution of food,” he said. “These are issues that need to be addressed and avoided so that people may not suffer unduly because of the present conditions in food production.”