UN body for urgent steps to counter rising food prices

April 9th, 2008 - 6:24 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Urgent measures are needed to ensure that short-term adverse effects of higher foods prices do not impact more alarmingly on the poor, the chief of a UN agency said here Wednesday. “World food prices have risen 45 percent in the last nine months and there are serious shortages of rice, wheat and maize,” said Jacques Dious, director general of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

“Some serious steps are required to come out of the situation,” said Dious, who is in the Indian capital to attend a global seminar on agro industries.

According to the FAO chief, the current predicament was the result of both supply side and demand situation where growth in countries like India and China has led to higher disposable incomes.

The global food stock at 405 million tonnes was the lowest since 1980 with supplies of only 12 weeks in the case of wheat and rice, he said.

It is essential to increase agricultural investment in water and infrastructure and also to facilitate inputs for small farmers so that they can increase productivity, he said.

Dious expressed anguish that governments all over the world were not paying adequate attention to investment in agricultural and allied technology.

His comments come in the backdrop of India’s annual rate of inflation rising to a three-year high of seven percent in the week ending March 22 amid low buffer stocks and spiralling prices of essential commodities.

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