Price rise, food security dominate global agro meet

April 9th, 2008 - 10:55 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Skyrocketing prices of food grain and food security figured prominently at the Global Agro Industries Forum (GAIF) meet Wednesday, as Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar attributed the phenomenon to the declining agricultural production. “There is a worldwide concern about rising food prices, and food security in the coming years on account of declining production due to the climate change, rising demand because of economic growth and pressure on account bio fuels,” Pawar said.

Pawar, who formally inaugurated GAIF-2008 being held for the first time in India, exuded confidence that the country’s scientists would ensure an increase in agricultural productivity to meet the food demand.

“I am convinced of the ingenuity of our scientists to overcome technological barriers to agricultural production even under the new threat of climate change,” Pawar said.

Pawar said 790 million people in the developing countries were malnourished, while 1.5 billion people live in poverty, most of them in the rural areas of developing countries.

Director general of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Jacques Diouf said there was 40 percent rise in the prices of food grain worldwide in the past nine months, affecting the poor most.

“Urgent measures are needed to increase the food productivity. There is shortage of wheat, maize and rice around the world. We must increase investment in agriculture to respond to the emerging challenges effectively,” Diouf said.

The director general of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) Kandeh Yumkella in his address underlined the need of checking the post-harvest losses.

“The farmers must be provided with the food-processing facilities. It will generate not only employments, but will also save the agro products from being wasted. It is high time to focus on the research and development (R&D) in agriculture,” Yumkella said.

“Today prices of food grains are going up. How we will feed the poor if we do not produce adequate quantity of grains. The food safety and processing facilities are some of the areas to concentrate on along with increasing the over all productivity.”

Around 500 delegates from about 100 countries are participating in the summit.

The participants will discuss “strategies and actions for improving competitiveness and development impact that can contribute to broad-based economic development and poverty alleviation”.

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