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U.S. opposes grains stockpile at World Food Day meeting

The United States does not support using strategic grains stocks to tame volatile food prices, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations food agencies said at a meeting in Rome today during the celebration of World Food Day, Reuters reported.

“The United States generally opposes the creation of regional or global food reserve systems to manage price volatility," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations agencies in Rome David Lane told the meeting at the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, Reuters reported.

“The fiscal, logistical and governance costs of regional reserves are considerable and could divert limited and valuble resources away from sustainable solutions, such as targeted support to producers, safety nets for poor consumers and increased investment in transportation and distribution infrastructure,” Lane added.

Lane’s statement was not a change in U.S. policy. The meeting was held at the suggestion of the French government, which first proposed a grains stockpile under the government of former President Nicholas Sarkozy and has continued that position under the current president, François Hollande.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll acknowledged that France cannot prevail on this position, Reuters reported.

“On this issue of strategic food stocks to try to regulate markets, we are not in a position to win right now,” Le Foll told Reuters . “There are too many countries that consider this a sort of intervention, that don't understand the idea well. So we will repeat the proposal but the issue is not resolved,” he added.