NAT section holds debate on food speculation

On 22 November 2023, in the context of its section meeting, the NAT section held a debate on food speculation, organised as a follow up of the opinion on "Food price crisis: the role of speculation and concrete proposals for action in the aftermath of the Ukraine war".

The debate clearly demonstrated the impact of the EESC opinion on this important topic, as the paper was widely quoted in the latest UNCTAD Trade and Development Report's chapter on Food Commodities, Corporate Profiteering and Crises.

The author, Anastasia Nesvetailova, explained that profits of main energy and food traders increased dramatically in 2021-2022 in close correlation with higher price volatility. Speculative practices have overwhelmed the EU and US markets and large food traders have become unregulated financial institutions.

Susanne Bauer, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Niederösterreich then presented her Chamber's report on the topic, showing huge increases in food prices in 2022 due to several reasons, including excessive speculation and geopolitical crises. She showed the clear disconnect between values traded on the financial market and the real stock. Recommendations on the way forward included the need to reduce the financialisation, shrink excessive speculation and reduce concentration of food traders. 

Hidayat Greenfield, IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary finally highlighted the impacts on farmers and consumers, as well as the interlinkages between food speculation and the climate emergency. He stressed the need to bring values into the debate - compassion, ethics, rights and fairness are essential to support communities.

A video recording of the debate is available below.