Published on April 25, 2008
Speaking in the Ghanaian capital, he said many food-producing countries were enforcing restrictions on exports by means of tax measures, quotas and even total bans, in order to reserve food supplies for domestic consumption amid the panic of the food crisis.
"Such measures are too strong and will leave the food products to become victims of speculation in futures markets," Supachai told Thai journalists at an Unctad meeting.
Trade restrictions on farm products and speculation will make goods disappear from the market, resulting in consumer panic and soaring prices, he warned.
"We should not use knee-jerk reactions. Food crises in some parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, are not really new but are permanent problems. It has been this way with 10 or 20 countries in Africa for a long time," he said.
Supachai said an increasing world population, decreases in farm production, changes in food-consumption behaviour and climate change were major factors contributing to the world food crisis.
Fast-growing economies are consuming more protein, resulting in higher demand for grain to feed livestock, while grain is also being used to produce biofuel. It is wrong to heap all of the blame for the crisis on biofuel production.