The rise in global food prices is has been noted by the U.N. and is now likely to be a topic for discussion at the G20 meeting in France.
While arguments are being made in favor of trade liberalisation or a ban on speculation in commodity prices, the contentious subject of subsidies is also going to come up.That agricultural subsidies distort prices is known but dealing with lowering or abolishing subsidies has proven difficult in the past. Everybody likes to point the finger elsewhere: China pays out $15 bn in agricultural subsidies, Brazil and India also make large subsidy payments to support their farmers but most of the pressure will be mounted on the EU and the US as developed countries who need to do their share. At this moment the US is also going to consider the new Farm Bill 2012 and subsidies are likely to feature in that discussion as well. It will be interesting to watch how domestic interests and the global agenda are balanced as the discussions start on the Farm Bill.