Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Future is Famine


Global food prices continue to soar to new highs despite a record world harvest last season . Realising the urgency of the situation, the three food agencies of the UN - the FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agriculture development (IFAD) - are organising a High-Level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy from 3 to 5 June 2008 in Rome.

International wheat prices in January 2008 were 83 percent higher than a year earlier.

"Wheat prices are up because it is being used as animal feed instead of maize, stocks of which are running low partly as a result of the increase in demand for making biofuel," said Liliana Balbi, senior economist at the FAO's Commodities and Trade Division .

According to the FAO, climate change and the demand for agricultural commodities for biofuels production required complex trade-offs and economic, social and environmental policy decisions that would have important repercussions on world agricultural production, access to food and the incomes of rural populations.

"We are facing a crisis triggered by several factors: more intense weather events as result of climate change, the global economic crisis, fuel prices and the pressures brought on by biofuel. ..." said Kanayo Nwanze, Vice-President of IFAD.

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