Monday, 9 June 2008

Food Insecurity: A Perfect Storm

The global food crisis can be solved, and at the same time African countries can prosper, if the world invests in Africa's agricultural sector. That's the assessment of experts meeting this week in South Africa for the World Economic Forum in the panel "Food Insecurity: A Perfect Storm". More than 800 participants from 50 countries are participating in the forum that runs through Friday. The discussion on food insecurity took place concurrently with the United Nations food summit in Rome. The debate in Cape Town focused on medium- and long-term solutions to the problem.

Dr. Monty Jones directs Ghana's Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. To him, the recent rise in food prices is more than a humanitarian crisis. He says it's a business opportunity.
"We all believe that agriculture is the backbone for economic growth in Africa," said Jones. "And I think that Africa should turn around this as an opportunity to increase its food production. And, I believe that we are getting ready for that." He emphasized "empowering smallholders to make sure they can access information and outside inputs and have their voices heard. If that happens, I foresee a considerable increase in production"

Dr. Jones was speaking at a debate on how Africa should respond to the growing problem of food insecurity. Panelists agreed that African farmers have been neglected. As a result, they grow less per acre than anywhere else in the world.

Experts predict the current food crisis will force leaders to provide farmers with better education, affordable fertilizer, high-yield varieties of seeds, and improved irrigation.
Press Release I Session Summary I Photos I Watch the session

Voice of America 05/06
ChinaView 05/06 World Economic Forum calls for support for smallholders to address food crisis
Tehran Times 08/06 World Bank says food crisis can be opportunity for Africa