Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The World Food Situation: New Driving Forces and Required Actions

“The World Food Situation: New Driving Forces and Required Actions” was released on 3rd December 2007 at the annual general meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

“Food prices have been steadily decreasing since the Green Revolution, but the days of falling food prices may be over,” said Joachim von Braun, lead author of the report and director general of IFPRI. “Surging demand for feed, food, and fuel have recently led to drastic price increases, which are not likely to fall in the foreseeable future, due to low stocks and slow-growing supplies of agricultural outputs. Climate change will also have a negative impact on food production, compounding the challenge of meeting global food demand, and potentially exacerbating hunger and malnutrition among the world’s poorest people.” “Economic growth has helped to reduce hunger, particularly when it is equitable,” added von Braun. “But unfortunately, growth does not always reach the poorest people.” "The last time the world experienced such food price increases was in 1973 to 1974 ... but today the situation is completely different. For one, the climate risk and climate change situation has increased, the climate vulnerability has increased," von Braun told reporters in Beijing.

The forces pushing up food prices
1 Rising consumption: The appetite of fast-growing nations, such as China, is rising as economic booms cause a surge in demand for meat and dairy products
2 Competition from biofuels: The cars of the rich are now rivalling the bellies of the poor for corn, cane and edible oils
3 Climate change: Global warming is putting pressure on water needed to irrigate crops

Radio interview with von Braun: AM-ABC
Agence de Presse Africaine: Rising food prices threatens Africa
IPS: Food Prices Climbing, With No End in Sight
Eurekalert: New report examines the impact of growth, climate change and biofuels
Associated Press: World Food Prices to Rise
Reuters: World faces food shortages, price rises
CNN: World food prices to jump
The Guardian: Riots and hunger feared as demand for grain sends food costs soaring

Other reports:
Full references for following papers were not available at time of publication.
  • "Crop and Pasture response to climate change" Francesco Tubiello, Goddard Institute of Space Studies, USA
  • "Global food security under climate change" Josef Schmidhuber, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Italy
  • "Adapting agriculture to climate change" S Mark Howden, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

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