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Leaders of the G8 group of industrialized nations have agreed
Leaders of the G8 group of industrialized nations have agreed at a summit in Japan on joint efforts to fight a growth in global food prices, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

G8 leaders, currently meeting in a luxury resort on northern Japan's Hokkaido Island, face the challenge of global food price hikes caused by poor harvests, reductions in cultivable areas in favor of bio-fuel production, and high fuel prices.

"We still need to finally determine the key factor behind hikes in food prices, however the problems are well-known and we have agreed to jointly exert an influence on all these factors," Medvedev said.

Russia's president also proposed on Tuesday that G8 countries hold 'grain summits' to discuss policy and pricing.

"We need a new format within the G8 - meetings of agriculture ministries and a 'grain summit,'" Dmitry Medvedev said following a G8 meeting which focused on the global economy. "Pricing policies and stabilization measures would be discussed there."

Meanwhile, a high-ranking Russian diplomat said that Russia would not restrict food exports despite hikes in prices.

"We have no intention to restrict our exports. Until July 1, prohibitive export grain duties were in effect due to a desire to analyze the pricing situation on the world market," Alexander Pankin, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for international organizations, said.

In a statement on the world economy adopted at the summit, the G8 leaders called on leading international financial organizations to help curb soaring prices, which "have serious implications for the most vulnerable."

They also pledged "to resist protectionist pressures against international trade and investment in all its manifestations," and urged all states to take steps to encourage foreign investment.

Voicing strong concerns about the sharp rise in oil prices, the G8 leaders urged an increase in production and refining capacities in the short term and in upstream and downstream investment in the medium term.

They also said that producers should ensure transparent and stable investment environments to spur production, and consumers should improve energy efficiency and pursue diversification.

The food crisis has, according to Action Aid International, affected around 25% of the world's population, or more than 1.7 billion people, and triggered riots in dozens of countries.

The World Bank said food prices have risen by an average of 83% in the past three years.


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