G-20 eyes 1st farm ministerial in June on food price surge

Tokyo, Feb 10 (Kyodo) Farm ministers from the Group of20 developed and emerging economies plan to meet in Parispossibly in June to address surging food prices, in theirfirst ever gathering under G-20 auspices, Japanese governmentsources have said.

The main issues to be discussed will be steps to stemprice increases and setting up a mechanism aimed at monitoringspeculative moves, the sources said.

Increasing demand for foods in emerging economies andthe influx of speculative money have apparently driven upcommodity prices internationally, prompting an increase inretail prices for coffee and oil in Japan and other countries.

Growing popular discontent over food price increaseshas also been cited as a factor behind the recent uprisings inTunisia and Egypt, raising concerns among leaders in somecountries.

The idea of a G-20 farm ministers'' meeting came fromFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country will host thisyear''s G-20 summit meeting, according to the sources.

Finance ministers and central bank heads from the G-20economies are expected to discuss speculative moves at ameeting in Paris from February 18, including concrete steps tomonitor them.

The prices of grains and sugar are on an upward trenddue to unseasonable weather in many parts of the world, withthe U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization''s Food Price Indexrising to an all-time high in January.

The G20 comprises of twenty developed and developingnations of the world including India. South Africa, Canada,Mexico, US, Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea, ,Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, France, Germany,Italy, UK, Australia and the European Union are the othermembers. (Kyodo)

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