Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Emergency Aid Urged At U.N. Food Summit

The cost of major food commodities has doubled over the last couple of years
by Miriam Marcus

Delegates to a U.N. food summit in Rome called Tuesday for emergency global food aid, increasing crop yields, reducing trade barriers, including lifting food export bans, and a reconsideration of the use of biofuels.

The cost of major food commodities has doubled over the last couple of years, with rice, corn and wheat at record highs. Protests, riots, and black market trading in rice and flour have been reported around the globe, especially in developing nations, where higher percentages of peoples’ incomes go to food.

“Nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially when manmade,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban estimated the “global price tag” to overcome the food crisis would be $15 billion to $20 billion a year and that food supplies had to rise 50% by the year 2030 to meet climbing demand.

A task force set up by Ban circulated a draft plan of action at the summit that called for the implementation of emergency aid to confront hunger and malnutrition. It also recommended devoting resources to boosting crop yields through improved pest control and storage, upgrading rural roads, irrigation and electricity systems, and assessing the potential of using genetically-modified organisms.

See: Emergency Aid Urged At UN Food Summit

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