In its global hunger report, the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said high, volatile prices are likely to continue and could possibly increase, making the world's poor more vulnerable to food insecurity. Small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially at risk.
The report states many countries still face severe problems following the world food and economic crises of 2006-2008.. Such crises, including in the Horn of Africa, are challenging efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half in 2015.
This year's report focuses on high and volatile food prices, identified as major contributing factors in food insecurity at global level and a source of grave concern to the international community. "Demand from consumers in rapidly growing economies will increase, the population continues to grow, and further growth in biofuels will place additional demands on the food system," the report said. Moreover, food price volatility may increase over the next decade due to stronger linkages between agricultural and energy markets and more frequent extreme weather events.
The report stresses that investment in agriculture remains critical to sustainable, long-term food security. It states key areas where such investments should be directed are cost-effective irrigation, improved land-management practices and better seeds developed through agricultural research. That would help reduce the production risks facing farmers, especially smallholders, and mitigate price volatility.