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G8 nations to tackle global food crisis: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says measures to fight the soaring price of food will be focus of the G8 summit next week.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Berlin
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2008 06:03 PM IST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G8 group of top industrialised nations at next week's summit will take measures to fight the soaring price of food, in an interview with a German newspaper.

"A vast catalogue of measures to guarantee food supplies worldwide" is expected to be adopted at the G8 summit in the northern Japanese city of Toyako, Merkel told the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag which will be on newsstands on Sunday.

The measures, based on a German government concept, is intended "to provide short term relief to the food crisis and a long-term strategy to increase the world agricultural production," Merkel said.

The G8 powers also plan to create a task force on the food crisis during the summit, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said on Monday, citing government sources.

The working group will look into the possibility of lifting certain restrictions on exports which prevent the countries most in need from having access to the surplus food of rich nations.

According to the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, quoting a six-page document Merkel sent to her G8 colleagues on Monday, the German leader believes the spiralling cost of food could "endanger democratization, destabilise some states and become an international security security problem."

Merkel set up an inter-ministerial working group at the end of April to look at causes, consequences and possible solutions to the problem.

Its recommendations, according to the magazine, include an increase in agricultural production in developing countries.

Merkel also said in the document that Germany would release 750 million dollars this year to help poor countries feed themselves, Der Spiegel added.

The heads of state and government from the G8 nations -- Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Britain, Japan, Russia and the United States -- will meet for three days, starting Monday, in Toyako on the island of Hokkaido.

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