News / Economy

UN Expert Warns of Looming World Food Crisis

Multimedia

Audio

Conditions in the world's grain markets today are similar to those during the food price crisis of 2007-2008, according to the head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

FAO chief Jacques Diouf tells VOA another food price crisis is possible.

Riots broke out in Kenya and more than 30 other countries in 2007 and 2008 because people could not afford to buy food. 

Price crisis

Experts say record high energy prices, growing demand for bio-fuels, low grain reserves and bad weather in producing countries helped push up prices beginning in 2007.

Record high energy prices, growing demand for bio-fuels, low grain reserves and bad weather helped push up prices beginning in 2007.
Record high energy prices, growing demand for bio-fuels, low grain reserves and bad weather helped push up prices beginning in 2007.

Responding to the high prices, major global exporters have ramped up production. But Diouf says farmers in some of the world's most vulnerable countries have lagged behind. "And these were the countries where we had riots and other problems," he says.

Food prices remain high in many developing countries. And Diouf says the threat of another global price hike persists. Energy prices have not fallen to pre-crisis levels, and crops are still being diverted for bio-fuels. In fact, he says, except for larger grain reserves, not much has changed since 2007.

 "All the other factors that led to the price crisis are all here. They have not changed," he says. "So, I think that, if we have -- and I pray that we don't have it -- serious problems of flood and drought in major exporting countries, we're back to square one."

Experts say floods, drought and other extreme weather are becoming more frequent, brought on by climate change.

And the world's population is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent, to 9 billion by 2050. Developing countries will grow the most.

More investment needed

Diouf says many nations are still not investing enough in agriculture.

Last summer in Italy, the G-8 group of industrialized nations pledged $20 billion to help farmers in the developing world expand food supplies.

"All those commitments are not met yet," he says. "So this is where we are."

Diouf says what farmers in many developing countries need is simple: irrigation, improved storage facilities, help with fertilizers and high-quality seeds to improve yields.

Without those investments, he says, the world risks another food crisis, and the hunger and instability that go along with it.

 

 

 

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8916
JPY
USD
121.32
GBP
USD
0.6487
CAD
USD
1.3252
INR
USD
66.401

Rates may not be current.