DEVELOPMENT: Food Shortages an Emergency

Published on IPS, by Ranjit Devraj, April 9, 2008.

Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO, on Wednesday described spiralling food prices as an “emergency” that demanded concerted global attention.

“In the face of food riots around the world like in Africa and Haiti, we really have an emergency,” Diouf said at a news conference in New Delhi that was also addressed by Lennart Bage, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD and Kandeh K. Yumkella, director general of the U.N. Industrial Development Organisation UNIDO.

The three U.N. agency heads, who are in the Indian capital to attend a global conference on the development of agro-industries as a means to fight poverty and create jobs, called for increased agricultural investment in water and infrastructure to help small farmers increase productivity.

Diouf, who blamed the crisis primarily on the steady migration of rural populations to the cities, in turn affecting food production, said he was looking to a summit in Rome in the first week of June to address this as well as factors that had to do with the developed world, such as the diversion of farmland to produce biofuels and speculation in the futures markets … (full text).

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