UN calls for global action to avert food crisis

Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Geneva: The heads of three United Nations food and agricultural agencies called for urgent international action to prevent rising food prices from hurting tens of millions of people over the coming months.

In a joint statement, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, the UN World Food Programme's (WFP) Executive Director, Ertharin Cousins, and the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze warned that the current situation in world food markets, characterized by sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices, had raised fears of a repeat of the 2007-2008 world food crisis.

But the UN officials said that swift, coordinated international action "can stop that from happening" and urged countries to avoid panic buying and refrain from imposing export restrictions.

In the short-term, they called for a coordinated response by food producers to deal with spikes in food prices, and an improvement in the transparency of global markets.

In the long-term, they said policies should focus on issues such as the increasing global population and climate change, which has led to droughts and floods in many countries, affecting food production.

They also highlighted the role that small holder farmers play in ensuring food security, and called on countries to support smallholder agriculture and provide citizens with social protection systems to ensure vulnerable populations have enough to eat.

Nutritional support for mothers and children as well as school meals are other policies the three UN officials considered essential to safeguard against recurring price shock and crises. - UNifeed
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