Pope tells FAO delegates to end food speculation

Francis demands access to water, food for all

11 June, 19:11

    (By Sandra Cordon).

    (ANSAmed) - Rome, June 11 - Tackling financial market speculation on the price of essential food products is necessary if global hunger is to be overcome, Pope Francis said Thursday.

    In a message to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), he emphasized the damage that can be created when speculators drive up commodity prices purely for their own economic interests.

    The pope added that this is among the major concerns that must be addressed in dealing with food insecurity, hunger and related issues that plague the globe.

    "Climate change" is rightly an issue of significant concern in tackling world hunger but "financial speculation must not be forgotten" either, Francis said.

    He referred to rising and fluctuating prices of basic foods such as grains, rice, and soybeans due to speculation.

    The Rome-based UN food agency must work hard to "convince us that the products of the earth have a worth that can be considered 'sacred', said the pope.

    These products, necessary for daily life, "must be valued as the fruit of the daily toil of individuals, families, communities, farmers", Francis added.

    The European Union has been considering new regulations concerning financial market speculation on food and other commodity prices.

    Proposals would limit how large a position financial traders can take on grains, oil and other types of commodities to try to limit their influence on prices.

    Meanwhile, Francis also reminded the FAO, at its 39th biannual conference, that its job is to combat hunger and not just compile statistics.

    "We must respond to the imperative for access to necessary food to be a right for everyone and rights do not allow for exclusions," he said.

    Francis added that the agency must not "neglect the obligation to weaken hunger and prevent malnutrition" throughout the world and not just "update the data".

    At the same time, however, he acknowledged that statistics are important and necessary to make clear the details of the world's food-insecurity situation.

    He also urged the agency to turn its efforts to the issue of access to clean water for all.

    Francis said that he hoped that FAO would work to protect important land and water resources, particularly from multinational companies that may be more focused on industrial production that basic food and water issues.

    The pope reminded delegates of the role of individuals in changing their lifestyles to better protect and use food and water assets.

    "We must begin with our daily lives if we want to change lifestyles, aware that our small gestures can guarantee sustainability and the future of the human family," the pope said.

    "The Church with its institutions and its initiatives, walks with you, knowing that the earth's resources are limited and their sustainable use is an urgent need for agricultural development and food security," concluded the pope. (ANSAmed). http://popefrancisnewsapp.com/
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