Food & Water Watch Joins 200 Groups to Urge an End to Speculation that Drove Global Food Crisis

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Food & Water Watch Joins 200 Groups to Urge an End to Speculation that Drove Global Food Crisis

WASHINGTON - Food & Water Watch, along with a coalition of faith, farm, food,
hunger and international development groups, today sent a letter to
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders demanding decisive
action to prevent speculation in the commodity markets from threatening
the food security of hundreds of millions of people.   According to the
coalition's letter, "A significant part of last year's food price
fluctuations were the result of excessive speculation in the
commodities markets by the very hedge funds and investment banks that
helped create the current economic meltdown." 

"Congress and
the White House must wring excess speculation out of the commodities
markets to tamp down on the tremendous food price volatility that is
harming consumers and farmers worldwide," said Food & Water Watch
Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.

The letter was signed by 183
social justice and civil society groups, including 76 U.S.-based
organizations and 107 international groups from 29 countries.  The
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 200
million additional people in the developing world faced malnutrition
because of surging food prices in 2008. The letter urges the president
and Congress to pass legislation to re-regulate the commodity markets
to prevent speculation from continuing to contribute to global hunger.

The
letter states that the 2008 food price volatility "could have been
stopped with sensible rules that, if enforced, would have staved off
the malnutrition and starvation that was caused by excessive gambling
of food prices.  Important reforms are needed now to prevent
mega-investors from viewing the futures market like a casino where they
can gamble on hunger."

There are several proposals in Congress
that aim to reform the commodities markets.  House Agriculture
Committee Chairman Collin Peterson passed legislation out of his
committee (H.R. 977, the Derivatives Markets Transparency and
Accountability Act of 2009) that takes important first steps to prevent
excess speculation from inflating food prices, but this legislation
needs to be strengthened.  Senators Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate
Agriculture Committee, and Senator Carl Levin have also introduced
measures. 

"Congress is assembling important legislative
building blocks that could prevent speculative agricultural price
bubbles from increasing global hunger," said Hauter.  "Strong
commodities speculation reform measures must ensure that all commodity
futures marketplaces are adequately regulated and that giant investment
funds do not exert undo speculative pressures on food prices."

To view the coalition letter, please click here.

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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