In a recent gathering of experts and stakeholders at the 24th session of the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS) Global Food Market Information Group, held at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters on November 6-7, the importance of accurate and timely information regarding international agriculture markets was emphasized. Keynote speaker Edwini Kessie, Director of the WTO's Agriculture and Commodities Division, highlighted the vital role that AMIS plays in enhancing transparency in global food markets and strengthening food security—a mission supported wholeheartedly by WTO members.
AMIS has significantly contributed to the improvement of global food and agriculture markets by ensuring that precise and up-to-date information is readily accessible on a regular basis. This has proven particularly crucial during periods of abrupt market shocks, which have become increasingly common in recent years.
The significance of swiftly sharing relevant information on policies affecting trade and food and agriculture markets was underscored in the Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity, adopted at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022. This declaration marked the first-ever WTO statement on food security and recognized the "positive role" played by AMIS.
Established in 2011 by the Group of 20 agriculture ministers, AMIS operates as an inter-agency platform committed to enhancing food market transparency and policy responses to food insecurity. It brings together G20 members, including Spain, and seven other major traders in agricultural commodities, collectively representing 80-90% of global production, consumption, and trade volumes of crops like wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans.
The AMIS Secretariat, hosted at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome, includes ten international organizations and agencies, with the WTO among them.
Seth Meyer, Chair of AMIS and Chief Economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, emphasized AMIS's role in aiding individual countries in making informed decisions. Market transparency and trade serve as essential tools for mitigating market shocks, making global market information indispensable for policymakers.
The November 6-7 meeting brought together representatives from governments, international organizations, academia, and AMIS national focal points. It provided a platform to assess the current food market situation and discuss pressing issues affecting food markets, including global trends in commodities markets and the impact of El Niño conditions on the agriculture sector, as well as the consequences of agricultural export restrictions on markets.
Mr. Kessie highlighted the value of AMIS's work, particularly in recent months when governments have taken steps to ease export restrictions imposed in response to food price spikes in March 2022. He also commended the monthly AMIS Market Monitor, providing regular updates on major developments in international commodity markets.
Addressing the ongoing issue of global hunger affecting approximately 9% of the world's population, Mr. Kessie stressed the need to enhance the functioning of global food and agriculture markets. He noted that climate change would intensify this challenge, making food security a central focus of WTO negotiations on food and agriculture leading up to the 13th ministerial conference in February 2024.
Joseph Glauber, Interim Secretary of AMIS and Senior Research Fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute, emphasized the usefulness of AMIS's improved information for governments in adapting to changing market conditions. He highlighted the importance of decision-makers being fully informed by market information when making critical choices.
In conclusion, the International Trade Council underscores the indispensable role of timely and accurate food market information in addressing global challenges and promoting food security in a changing world.