World leaders urged to act on food crisis

2012-09-04 16:05

Rome - The United Nations warned on Tuesday of a possible repeat of the 2007-2008 food crisis and called on world leaders to act quickly to prevent a catastrophe which would affect tens of millions of people.

"The current situation in world food markets, characterised by sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices, has raised fears of a repeat of the 2007-2008 world food crisis," the UN's food agencies said in a statement.

"But swift, co-ordinated international action can stop that from happening. We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months," they said.

There are fears that the drought in the United States, which has pushed grain prices to record highs, could spark another crisis like the one seen in 2007-2008, which pushed the total number of hungry people to over a billion.

In the statement, released by the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the agencies said leaders must tackle both the issue of high food prices as well as the question of how food is produced and consumed.

The latter is particularly important "in an age of increasing population, demand and climate change", the report said.

"Countries must avoid panic buying and refrain from imposing export restrictions which, while temporarily helping some consumers at home, are generally inefficient and make life difficult for everyone else," it warned.

Along with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP), the FAO recommended governments develop existing resources, such as safety nets to safeguard against price shocks and crises.

These include assistance for smallholder farmers, nutritional support to mothers and children, and school meals, it said.

  • rick.kabose - 2012-09-04 17:00

    So sorry ,no excess food aid stockpiles for zimbobwe. Gonna have to starve to death or overthrow mugarbage.

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-09-04 17:03

    Meanwhile the erstwhile 'breadbasket of Africa' wallows in the Mugabe morass and we read that farmers in South Africa are fast becoming a dying 'species'. Throughout Africa once fertile and productive farmland, capable of feeding all of Africa to excess, is fast becoming wasteland having been carved up into uneconomical pocket plots so the offspring from unabated procreation can each have their little piece of land. There are none so blind .............

      terrylee.heuer - 2012-09-04 20:56

      Well said!!!

  • Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-09-04 17:04

    Poorer countries should also 'encourage' smaller families, like our Chinese friends do. Give grants to partners who voluntrily submit to sterilisation after the second child!

  • hannah.p.mostert - 2012-09-04 21:34

    Thank you Malose-Nyatlo that is such a valid point..I was voluntarily sterilized as I was giving birth to my second child, even 2 children is a luxury for us in such an over-populated world. So it is my and my husbands responsibility to leave space for other families to have their children in peace, so as to not crowd the planet and make life so competitive that it becomes worthless.

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