08/13/2012 08:12 EDT | Updated 10/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Drought, food shortages get early G20 attention

There is increasing alarm over the drought hitting North America and the effect it's having on food prices.

Officials from the United States, Mexico and France will hold a conference call later this month to discuss whether an emergency international meeting is needed.

A French government official said the call will help decide whether to convene the first meeting of the G20's Rapid Response Forum, Reuters reported today.

"If the situation requires it, a meeting of the Rapid Response Forum could be called as soon as the start of September. It depends on the urgency," Reuters quoted the official as saying.

"The aim is to talk about the situation and avoid measures like export embargoes, which would be damaging for everyone."

The body was created last year to promote discussion among decision-level officials about abnormal international market conditions, the agency said.

The drought is the worst in half a century and has sent grain prices soaring.