Europe and the Global Food Crisis

The world has been shaken by unprecedented spikes in food prices, by hunger riots, and by social tensions that demonstrate that food supplies have returned as a source of insecurity – to which global warming and declining natural resources are adding unprecedented urgency. Relying on markets and trade liberalization alone will not solve the problem.

PARIS – The world has been shaken by unprecedented spikes in food prices, by hunger riots, and by social tensions that demonstrate that food supplies have returned as a source of insecurity – to which global warming and declining natural resources are adding unprecedented urgency. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be nine billion people on earth, so the need for food may double – primarily among urban populations in the world’s poorest countries.

But there is more to finding a solution than simply identifying those nations that are capable of feeding the rest of the world. It is increasingly urgent that every nation gain the means of feeding itself. This means that agriculture should become an international priority, with the poorest countries helped to safeguard the security and independence of their food supplies.

Countries and organizations are already mobilizing. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization argues that rising food prices could lead to increasing global conflicts. The Davos World Economic Forum ranks food insecurity as a major risk to humanity. The World Bank has forcefully emphasized the importance of agriculture to jump-starting economic expansion and breaking the cycle of poverty. UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon has created a working group to define a common plan of action, and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed a global partnership for food.

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