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Food

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission research on the effects of activities thought to contribute to anthropomorphic climate change, including overgrazing and deforestation, on trends in the levels of global food prices; and if he will make a statement. (204684)

The Department recognises the effects of climate change, and activities thought to contribute to climate change, across the range of its portfolio and research is ongoing in these areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission research on the effects of G8 agricultural subsidies on trends in global food prices; and if he will make a statement. (204685)

Trends in global food prices are analysed annually in the ‘Agricultural Outlook’ prepared jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Changes in G8 policies have not been identified as major drivers of recent developments, with the exception of support for biofuel crops. There is already a substantial economic literature on the wider question of G8 agricultural support. This shows that such support tends to increase food output, reduce prices in the rest of the world, and increase the overall cost of food production by displacing production from low-cost to G8 countries.