"Resolving the global food crisis could cost as much as $30 billion a year and wealthier nations are doing little to help the developing world face the problem", UN officials said at the Food Summit in Rome.
Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), opened the summit by sharply criticizing wealthy nations cutting back on agriculture programs for the world's poor and ignoring deforestation — while spending billions on carbon markets, subsidies for farmers and biofuel production.
"The developing countries did in fact forge policies, strategies and programs that — if they had received appropriate funding — would have given us world food security," Diouf, said, adding that international community finally began to mobilize to help after images of food riots and starvation emerged in the media. He said there had been plenty of meetings on the need for anti-hunger programs and agricultural development in poor nations in the last decade but not enough money to make them a reality. (Full)
More figures were slammed at the Food Summit:
$20 billion/year: cost of over-consumption by obese people in the world
$100 billion/year: indirect costs resulting from premature deaths and associated diseases, related to obesity.
$1.2 trillion: the world's spending on weapons in 2006
from $8 billion/year to $3.4 billion/year: the drop of aid in agriculture between 1984 and 2004. (Full)
It looks to me the food crisis is heading more and more towards a confrontation of North and South, Rich Nations and Poor nations. The world has a number of critical decisions to make if it wants not only to feed the hungry, but also wants to end hunger and poverty. Something it has tried to do in vain for the past half century...
More posts on The Road about the food crisis.
Picture courtesy Pedro Ugarte (AFP)