U.N. official calls on nations to prevent global food crisis

In the face of drought around the globe, a top U.N. official is calling on world powers to do something that might not come naturally: cooperate. U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization director Jose Graziano de Silva said today there is no food price crisis yet, and he wants to avoid one.

But that might take countries like the US putting world interests ahead of their own -- and modifying their agricultural policies on the fly.

Jeremy Zwinger runs a international commodity institute from here in California called The Rice Trader. He says the market is suffering from droughts in Brazil, Africa and Russia.

The U.N. wants to keep countries like Russia from enacting export bans. Zwinger says the U.N. is acting far too late.

"For months, the politicians have tried to downplay the fact that there's a food issue," he says. "When you have food prices run, it's bad for politics. And so really, for him to say this, it's almost behind the game." 

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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