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Speeches / Presentations
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría opens the OECD Global Forum on Agriculture 2012 held in Paris.
Increased productivity, green-growth and more open markets will be essential if the food and nutrition requirements of future generations are to be met. Governments should also renounce trade-distorting practices and create an enabling environment for a thriving and sustainable agriculture underpinned by improved productivity, said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
Water is one of the world’s most precious resources. And today, cities, farmers, industries, energy suppliers, and ecosystems are increasingly competing for their daily water needs. As a result, the costs of inadequate water management are becoming higher and higher. And not just financially – but also in terms of lost opportunities, compromised health and environmental damage.
To nourish the world population in 2050, we must increase food availability by 70 to 100%. This means that we need to engineer a shift towards policies that support innovation, productivity and sustainability and that provide farmers with the skills they need to grasp the opportunities of strong demand and high prices.
Over the coming decade, higher food prices and volatility in commodity markets are here to stay. This raises concerns for economic stability and food security in some developing countries, with poor consumers most at risk of malnutrition, said OECD Secretary-General.
Food prices are literally a matter of life and death, especially for the poorest of the poor, who already spend up to 80% or 90% of their income on food. Unfortunately, our medium term projections for global supply, demand and prices of agricultural commodities show that most prices look likely to trend significantly higher in the coming decade.
In his speech for the release of the OECD-FAO Agriculture Outlook in Rome, Italy, Angel Gurría said that the macroeconomic prospects underlying it are more favourable, supply response has been strong, stocks are healthier and most of the ad hoc restrictions on agricultural exports have been lifted.
In his opening remarks for the book launch for the Horizontal Water Programme, Mr. Gurría underlined that good water management is important for a stronger, cleaner and fairer economy.
Innovation allowed us to continuously increase our ability to produce food for growing populations and remains a key driver of poverty reduction in poor rural economies, according to OECD Secretary-General. But governments need to pay attention to policy issues such as regulation, intellectual property rights and public acceptance of new technologies in order to realise the full potential of existing knowledge.
In his opening remarks at the agriculture ministerial meeting, Angel Gurría said that the main challenge is to define what policy makers can do to create a competitive agro-food sector capable of feeding a growing world and conserving natural resources for future generations.