Farm aid and fair trade key to food crisis - UN
UN: Increased aid for agriculture and the abolition of rich-nation
subsidies are key to finding a long-term solution to rising world food
prices, the head of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development said on
A doubling of the price of major cereals on international markets
since mid-2007 has sharply increased the risk of hunger and poverty in
developing countries, and has already sparked food riots in parts of
Asia and Africa.
UNCTAD boss Supachai Panitchpakdi said a disproportionate amount of
aid had been spent on governance initiatives in the developing world in
recent decades while agriculture had been neglected, leaving some poor
countries which were once net food exporters reliant on expensive
"We will be jumping from one crisis to another unless the
international community can address the major issue of a restructuring
of the allocation of international aid," he told a news conference on
the eve of an UNCTAD summit in Ghana.
Panitchpakdi said that between 2003 and 2005, $1.3 billion of
development aid was spent on governance initiatives in the world's
poorest countries, compared with just $12 million on agricultural
development, which he described as "more than disproportionate".
This decade will be the first in recorded history in which more
people in the economically active population of the least developed
nations will seek work outside the agricultural sector than within it,
exacerbating the problem, he said.
"People are moving out of agriculture into urban areas, most of them
cannot find work. We have less support coming out of the agricultural
population and more mouths to be fed," he said.
"The productivity gap has been increasing and at the moment there is
no end in sight."
While urgent action was needed to provide food aid to pockets of the
world where there were shortages, a longer-term solution needed to take
into account that there are also areas of food surplus around the globe,
The former World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief said finding
agreement at the delicately poised WTO agriculture negotiations and
eliminating rich-nation subsidies was a vital part of addressing those
Accra, Sunday, Reuters