The BBC Radio 4's 'World Tonight' yesterday devoted the whole of their news programme to the question of global food security, and invited Ann Pettifor to comment throughout. She focussed on Goldman Sachs's Global Commodity Index - (about which you can read more here in Foreign Policy) not very different from the 'Collateralised Debt Obligations' (CDOs) that had been used during the property bubble to 'slice and dice' assets, and make them available for speculative purposes.
The programming was in response to a recent statement by President Sarkozy to the World Farmers Union. He was speaking in his role as convenor of the upcoming G20 Summit in Cannes on 3-4 November, 2011, and called for greater regulation of financial markets:
"We must regulate financial markets in agricultural commodity derivatives. I know the causes of agricultural volatility are debated, and various parameters, such as speculation and weather conditions, have an influence. All this can be debated. But I would like to make a proposal: let's not wait for the experts to agree before we act! Because one thing is for certain: the experts won't agree. If you wait, nothing will be done, and we cannot afford to do nothing.
The G20 has made commitments to improve the operation of derivative markets, particularly oil derivative markets. I would like to see those commitments extended to agricultural derivative markets. Is there any reason, any argument for us not to apply what we did for oil derivative markets to agricultural commodity derivative markets?"
Ms Pettifor appeared with Waseem Khan of Silk Invest, a financial advisor to Middle Eastern Sovereign Wealth Funds. For more, you can listen on Iplayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011w837.