A New Annual UN Report Predicts That Food Prices and Insecurity Will Increase

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

A new UN report has concluded that high food prices are likely to continue and could continue to increase over the next decade which could lead to increased food insecurity in many countries.

The authors of the report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011, say that food insecurity is likely to grow and identifies 20 countries most at risk, the majority in Africa but some also in South Asia. They are most likely to be those that are highly dependent on importing food.

The report argues that a combination of rising demand, the impact of more frequent extreme weather events and the biofuel industry, will together be the primary impetus for rising prices.

The Food and agriculture Organisation’s food price index, which includes wheat, corn, rice, sugar, meat and vegetable oil, had risen 15 per cent over the past year. This index has jumped nearly 150 per cent over the past decade.

The authors urge governments to Governments ensure that a transparent and predictable regulatory environment to promote private investment and increase farm productivity.

They also believe that food waste must be reduced in developed countries through education and food losses in developing countries must be reduced by boosting investment in the entire value chain, especially post-harvest processing.

In the UK the Soil Association, which promotes sustainable, environmentally friendly and organic farming, has launched its new strategy for the next ten years with the focus on facing the future. Their strategy is called The Road to 2020, towards healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.

Under the overall theme of ensuring adequate supplies of healthy food for everyone one of the association’s focuses is on finding ways of improving the performance of farming, food and land use systems. This includes action to encourage research and innovation and to share knowledge across all of agriculture.

The CEO of one US-based research organisation, that focuses on biopesticides development, has gone on record as saying that he believes passionately that everyone has the right to clean, quality food and that it is scandalous that in such a diverse and rich world so many people still suffer malnutrition and starvation.

He has also criticised the lack of investment and resources that resulted in many developing world farmers being faced with what he has called an unacceptable choice between producing enough food and draining their land of precious goodness in the effort to do so.

Given the latest dire warnings from the UN it is clearly urgent that more resources are put into sustainable farming, innovative solutions to help farmers such as low-chem agricultural products and that as they come onto the market these products, that include biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers must be widely available at a price small farmers can afford.

The latest UN prediction is for continuing rises in food prices and food insecurity over the next decade. Innovations in agriculture such as biopesticides could become ever more crucial to helping farmers increase crop yields while farming in a way that is environmentally friendly.By Ali Withers.

Share This Post

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.