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Latino Daily News

Friday September 14, 2012

Despite Concerns, Mexico’s Gov’t Does Not Expect a Food Crisis

Despite Concerns, Mexico’s Gov’t Does Not Expect a Food Crisis

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Mexico will not face a food crisis in the short term, but there are risks in the world environment of price rises, droughts and economic weakness that could affect nations with fewer resources, a Mexican government official told Efe.

“We’re not facing an imminent food crisis, but we can’t say that there are no risks, since these are latent on the world level,” Finance Secretariat coordinator of advisors Hugo Garduño said.

The situation in the markets and prices for agricultural products constitute one of the issues that will be discussed at the next meeting of vice ministers and vice governors of the G20, which will take place Sept. 22-23 in Mexico City, Garduño said.

The economies of many European countries are fragile, the U.S. economy is still not showing signs of greater dynamism overall and droughts have impacted the agricultural products markets, Garduño said.

“There are risks, there are droughts, there are countries with more weakness, and so we must think about rapid response mechanisms to mitigate those effects,” he said.

Countries have taken measures on an individual basis, but within the G20, which includes the main developed and emerging economies of the world, it is more complicated to adopt immediate reaction policies, the Finance Secretariat official said.

The G20 is an informal mechanism and the policy coordination agreements are not able to be immediately and simultaneously applied, but rather they are adopted taking into account the conditions and particular situations of each of the members, he said.

Each of the countries is continuously monitoring the evolution of the markets, reviewing the risks and taking internal measures, the Finance Secretariat official said.

“When more aggressive measures were taken it was the 2008 crisis,” Garduño said, adding that in 2011 during the French presidency of the G20 a Rapid Response forum was created by the group to analyze the situation of the agricultural markets.

In Mexico, the probability of a food crisis is low, since that “implies that a part of the population doesn’t have anything to eat,” he said, adding that the groups that find themselves in extreme poverty are the most vulnerable.

“In general terms, there is no risk of a food crisis in the short term and the government is preparing to attend to the needs and has launched special programs to attend to each one of the problems,” Garduño said.

In Mexico, there have been increases in the price of eggs and tortillas due - among other factors - to the impact of the bird flu and the reduction in the production of corn, Garduño said.

The G20 meeting will also discuss the economic issues that have been placed on the agenda, among which are the world situation and the fiscal sustainability of the nations with large debts, Garduño said.

The officials will also discuss the matter of reforms to the International Monetary Fund and infrastructure investments, among others things, he said.