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Website of the Week — World Food Situation


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

Food is something we all have in common. Some of us grow, sell or transport it. And we all eat it. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization keeps an eye on the entire system, from food production and crop diseases to commodity prices and food emergencies. And they have a new website to help make that information easy for anyone to access.

ABBASSIAN: "We all know prices have gone up, and many countries around the world are extremely nervous about what's happening in the markets and so forth, so we set up this website and we named it World Food Situation with the objective to bring together information that [is] relevant to the current food situation around the world."

Abdolreza Abbassian of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization helped develop the World Food Situation website, just launched a month ago at fao.org/worldfoodsituation. Speaking on a mobile phone from Egypt, he said the site is designed for a wide variety of users, from policy makers to researchers, as well as the general public.

ABBASSIAN: "This website tries to provide objective analysis. So we have the early warning system in place there, providing information. We have our latest publications, reports that cover food situation. So we think we have the information that the general public is interested in, and surely also farmers will be interested in, assuming they have access to the Internet."

You'll find short answers to frequently asked questions such as "What is the role of biofuels" in the runup of food prices? along with detailed technical analysis reports on food and feed markets, and links to FAO databases.

The website is presented in English, plus Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese, though not all the content is available yet in each language.

Abbassian says the goal is to have World Food Situation as up-to-date as possible.

ABBASSIAN: "For example on Monday we will have a very important report which gives the first forecasts in 2008. All this information which [is] relevant to the food situation will be posted here."

Keep an eye on the world food situation at fao.org/worldfoodsituation, or get the link from our site, voanews.com.

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