LEADERS of eight developing Muslim states met in Kuala Lumpur to consider the serious situation arising out of the skyrocketing food prices. A D-8 Roadmap spread over 10 years was approved. Among other things, the participants accepted Bangladesh's proposal to consider the creation of a D-8 Food Fund. The increasing food prices and fears of a worldwide food shortage in coming years has of late raised concern in developing countries around the globe. In a similar attempt, 16 Latin American countries met in Managua in May last year to declare food emergency, which they claimed was caused by a lawless free market economy. They maintained that speculation in food items and the use of food crops to produce biofuels were behind the scarcity and increasing prices. The summit agreed to cooperate in the production of more food and selling it at lower prices. While the summit in Latin America was more politicized and put the entire blame on the US and West European policies, the D-8 steered clear of ideological controversies keeping itself confined to a pragmatic and result-oriented approach that it considered could effectively meet the challenge. The member states agreed to encourage the private sector in their countries to undertake joint ventures in agro-industry that could help boost food production. Included in the list were projects to produce fertilizer and animal feed and create a seed bank. Food crops have been subjected to constraints because of serious shortcomings in these sectors. Besides entering into regional cooperation, the member states also agreed to take coordinated positions in international forums. The D-8 Roadmap envisages the expansion of trade cooperation between member countries. Some like Malaysia are more developed industrially or like Iran have enough petro-dollars to invest while others like Pakistan and Bangladesh have fertile lands. By joining hands they could promote vital agriculture related projects. Besides resolving the food crisis, cooperative efforts of this type could alleviate rural poverty and reduce unemployment. With the agricultural sector prospering, local markets would expand and there would be increasing demand for goods and services. This would help the growth of indigenous industry. With food prices on the rise in the international market presumably for many years to come, this would provide the D-8 countries an opportunity to improve their trade balance and earn foreign exchange. Bonds of faith alone have played little role in the enhancement of economic cooperation in the past. In the case of D-8 member countries, which are both Muslim majority and developing states, cooperation in overcoming food shortages could hopefully produce better results.