UN calls for global action to tackle high food prices

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th October 2011

The United Nations has called for action to ensure long-term global food security as a new report shows that high food prices are likely to continue over the next decade.

‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011’ report states that small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity.

“Even if the Millenium Development Goal were achieved by 2015, some 600 million people in developing countries would still be undernourished. Having 600 million people suffering from hunger on a daily basis is never acceptable,” the heads of the three agencies said in the preface to the report.

The report – produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme – says that crises, such as the food crisis several years ago and the current one in the Horn of Africa, “are challenging our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half in 2015.”

Among its recommendations, the report calls on Governments to:

  • Ensure they adopt policies that will facilitate a transparent and predictable regulatory environment is in place, “one that promotes private investment and increases farm productivity”;
  • A reduction in food waste in developed countries through education and policies;
  • A reduction in food losses in developing countries by boosting investment in the entire value chain, especially post-harvest processing;
  • More resources towards cost-effective irrigation;
  • Improved land-management practices;
  • Research and development for improved seeds.

According to the report, food price volatility may increase over the next decade due to increasing demand from consumers in rapidly growing economies, a population that is on the rise, further growth in biofuels that will place additional demands on the food system, as well as more frequent extreme weather events.