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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.