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German Chancellor Angela Merkel
© picture-alliance, Sven Simon
Merkel to G8: Food crisis is global security risk

July 08, 2008

Ahead of the summit of leading industrial nations in Japan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged G8 members to act on the current food crisis. She plans to set an example by bringing a major donation to the table.

In a letter to her G8 colleagues, Merkel warned her colleagues that extreme price hikes for food could lead to serious problems in the world's poorest countries. The crisis could "threaten democratization, destabilise countries and lead to international security problems," Merkel wrote in the six-page paper, according to German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

The document is apparently based on the findings of a governmental working group the Chancellor established at the end of April 2008 to analyse the current food shortage and come up with solutions. The group's experts call for an increase in agricultural activity in developing countries, quick supply of seeds, fertilizer and agricultural machinery to selected regions as well as the immediate lifting of export restrictions.

Millions for short-term relief

In her letter, Merkel also reportedly announced that Germany will give 477 million euros ($750 million) to supply poor countries with food. The German working group has apparently found that the world's 30 poorest countries will need $20 billion to import food.

The German funds will be part of a larger package to secure food supply on a global level. In an op-ed piece to be published in the Sunday edition of Der Tagesspiegel newspaper, Merkel writes that the package is meant to "bring about short-term relief for the current food shortage, but also offer a long-term strategy to increase worldwide agricultural production."

In her weekly video podcast message, Merkel added that G8 leaders would talk about how industrialised countries can help African countries to strengthen their own agriculture. "We'll also talk about what kind of standards we need in cultivating bio fuels in order to prevent competition with the production of food crops," she said.

During the G8 summit in Japan, Merkel is also expected to push for a UN task force to deal with the food crisis.

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© Deutsche Welle
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