News 705 views last update:Jun 5, 2008

UN summit discusses food production

Speaking at a UN-sponsored summit in Rome, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that world food production would have to rise by 50% by 2030 to meet growing demand.

According to the BBC, Mr Ban said the world had a "historic opportunity to revitalise agriculture".

When first planned one year ago, this summit was going to be about climate change but with world food prices soaring out of control, it has been hijacked by events.

The meeting - hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) - attended by more than 60 heads of state and government, has both short-term and longer-term measures in its sights.

The short-term goal is to ensure a flood of financial assistance to the world's subsistence farmers to ensure they have enough seeds and fertilisers to guarantee a healthy crop this season.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) - warned the industrialised countries that unless they increase yields, eliminate barriers and move food to where it is needed most, a global catastrophe could result.

Fierce clashes are also predicted during the conference with conflicts over GM products and biofuels. The US Secretary for Agriculture Ed Schafer insisted that the steep rise in the use of maize and other crops for biofuels is only one of many contributing factors in the increased food prices, whereas others maintain that the biofuels, subsidised in the US to the tune of 61 cents in the gallon, have contributed as much as one-third to the rise in food prices worldwide.

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