Bill Clinton’s ideas for agriculture

Bill Clinton, ex US president, was speaking at world food day recently. He said:

“We should go back to a policy of maximum agriculturalself-sufficiency,” Clinton said. While there would always be a globalmarket for crops like rice, wheat and corn, he added, “it is crazy forus to think we can develop a lot of these countries where I workwithout increasing their capacity to feed themselves and treating foodlike it was a color television set.”

Right on Bill. Oh and we need to sort out international trade in food. Should it be protected by tariff walls? That would have the advantage of keeping food local, but I don’t think that it would do much for price swings… what do you think? It would have the merit of showing how much of the local food crop could be used to produce fuel, I suppose.

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2 Responses to Bill Clinton’s ideas for agriculture

  1. David B. Benson 28 October, 2008 at 11:43 pm #

    Ideally every region and country grows enough basic foodstuffs so that those people can (usually) feed themselves. Specialty crops (coffee, etc.) then goes into trade. Excess basic foodstuffs go to helping those with drought or flooding problems.

    Maybe some import/export tariffs or controls are also required for such food sufficiency programs to work. The Doha round died on just such issues.

  2. Simon Robinson 29 October, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    Hi David,
    I guess that world trade in oil is pretty simple in comparison with about 20 producing countries/companies and millions of customers producing one product which is 90% used for one use. The world trade in food (and by extension biofuels) is more complex than that with millions of producers and consumers with many uses. The complexity issue makes trade agreements in this area very very hard to reach.

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