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Sunday, July 6, 2008
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G8 nations to tackle global food crisis, says Merkel

Anti-G8 activists wearing masks of G8 leaders shout slogans during a demonstration in Sapporo yesterday ahead of the Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008. Police detained at least two activists as thousands of activists and farmers from around the world gathered in northern Japan for a major protest ahead of next week's summit of the Group of Eight rich nations. Photo: AFP

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 newstands Sunday.

The measures, based 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 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.

G8 finance ministers warned at their meeting earlier this month that soaring oil and food prices pose "a serious challenge to stable growth worldwide" and may worsen poverty and stoke global inflation.

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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