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Experts worry about another food crisis

Marketplace Staff Nov 16, 2009
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Experts worry about another food crisis

Marketplace Staff Nov 16, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: World leaders are gathering in Rome today for a United Nations summit on food security. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization is hoping to tackle some of the problems that led to the last year’s food crisis. That’s when agricultural commodities — rice, wheat, corn, soybeans — hit record high prices
and triggered food riots in some parts of world. The global economy is beginning to revive, but Marketplace’s Christopher Werth reports international food aid agencies are not feeling hopeful.


Christopher Werth: The economic crisis has helped to knock down food prices from their highs last year, but many agricultural experts now warn that a second food crisis could follow as the global economy begins to recover.

Gawaine Kripke is with Oxfam International. He says the fundamentals that led to the first food crisis, such as increased demand in Asia, and a lack of agricultural investment overall, haven’t changed since 2008.

Gawaine Kripke: We haven’t changed our agricultural practices. We haven’t changed how much food we’ve consumed, and in fact, we’ve probably made things worse because many governments are instituting higher mandates for biofuels.

Going into this week’s meeting, U.N. leaders had been hoping to secure a pledge of $44 billion in agricultural aid. But so far, Kripke says, no clear commitments on funding have been made. According to the U.N., there are 1 billion hungry people in the world.

I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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