Pacific Rim Nations: Food Security Mounting Problem

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo & Video

Asia-Pacific leaders focused their attention on rising concern over food security on Sunday, as they prepared to wrap up their annual summit with an agreement to slash tariffs on trade in environmental goods and a call to keep markets open even in hard times.

Food security “is one of the most acute problems of our time,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in convening Sunday’s second and final “informal retreat” of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in this far eastern Russian seaport.

“Without ensuring food security, we cannot achieve our goal of enhancing the quality of life for our people,” he said before the closed door session got under way.

The explicit focus on food security by the leaders of the 21-member APEC reflects abiding concern over the potential for food prices to surge to politically volatile levels.

Current prices are high, though they remained flat in August and are below the levels that triggered rioting and unrest in parts of the developing world in 2007-2008. Another food crisis, in 2010-2011, also caused hardships for poorer consumers, especially in countries heavily dependent on food imports.

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