Pro Farmer Editors
The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says another
40 million people have been pushed into hunger this year primarily due to higher
food prices. This brings the overall number of undernourished people in the
world to 963 million, compared to 923 million in 2007 and the ongoing financial
and economic crisis could tip even more people into hunger and poverty, FAO
"World food prices have dropped since early 2008, but lower prices have
not ended the food crisis in many poor countries," said FAO Assistant
Director-General Hafez Ghanem, presenting the new edition of FAO's hunger
report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008. For millions of people
in developing countries, eating the minimum amount of food every day to live
an active and healthy life is a distant dream. The structural problems of
hunger, like the lack of access to land, credit and employment, combined with
high food prices remain a dire reality."
Prices of major cereals have fallen by over 50 percent from their peaks
earlier in 2008 but they remain high compared to previous years. Despite its
sharp decline in recent months, the FAO Food Price Index was still 28 percent
higher in October 2008 compared to October 2006. With prices for seeds and fertilizers
(and other inputs) more than doubling since 2006, poor farmers could not increase
production. But richer farmers, particularly those in developed countries, could
afford the higher input costs and expand plantings. As a result, cereal production
in developed countries is likely to rise by at least 10 percent in 2008. The
increase in developing countries may not exceed even one percent.
"If lower prices and the credit crunch associated with the economic
crisis force farmers to plant less food, another round of dramatic food prices
could be unleashed next year," Ghanem added. "The 1996 World Food
Summit target, to reduce the number of hungry by half by 2015, requires a
strong political commitment and investment in poor countries of at least $30
billion per year for agriculture and social protection of the poor,"
to additional information.