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Agricultural leaders convene at World Congress in St. Louis

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World Agricultural Forum Chairman James Bolger (center) leads a panel discussion at a World Congress on food security in St. Louis.

By Catherine Wolf, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

The World Agricultural Forum is holding its sixth biennial World Congress in St. Louis this week. Agricultural leaders are meeting to discuss how to protect the world's food supply.

Forum Chairman James Bolger says the answers to the world's food and economic problems go hand in hand. Bolger told attendees that although society can produce enough food to feed everyone, about one billion people go to bed hungry every night. He says that's because wealthy countries often look after themselves before helping the poor.

"Economic theory is if we can get the rich to buy more and more that somehow we're going to save the world economy. I mean, really what we need to do is bring the poor into the world economy. We need them to have the capacity to spend."

Bolger also says the agricultural market must include as many competing businesses as possible or it runs the risk of collapsing, like the financial market.

"We should not pretend that the people who run these mega-sized companies are immune from error. We now know they make massive errors at massive costs and the world food producers can't afford that sort of risk going forward."

Bolger says governments must: put aside their political differences to end trade restrictions on agricultural products; establish global policies that enable the poor to earn more money; and redirect money spent on weapons to feed the hungry.

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