The United Nations agencies working to alleviate global hunger have called for decisive action by the Group of Eight (G-8) most industrialized countries, currently meeting in Japan, to boost investment in agriculture to help feed the world.
The three Rome-based agencies – the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) – pointed out that one of the main causes of the current food crisis was the decline in agricultural investment over the past three decades.
“The G-8 Summit in Japan can help strike a decisive blow in the fight against hunger and poverty by reversing that trend and moving to direct a much larger share of development aid to the rural and agricultural sector,” said the joint statement, signed by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, IFAD President Lennart Båge and WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
They stated that boosting public and private investment in agricultural development would contribute to the anti-hunger strategy contained in the Declaration adopted by 180 countries and the European Community when they met in June to tackle the global food crisis at the Rome Food Security Summit.
The three leaders acknowledged that the task that lay head was huge, “for it involves nothing less than enabling the world’s poor countries to feed themselves once more – a capacity they lost in the decades of cheap food imports and following a three-fold increase in natural disasters.”
What was involved amounted to launching a new “twice-green revolution,” or G2R, with the aim of doubling global food production by the middle of the century to feed a world population expected to reach over nine billion.
If there was one “silver lining” to the current surge in food prices it was that, for the next ten years at least, high prices would make agriculture attractive to private investors, the agencies noted.
To tackle the food crisis and promote an “agricultural renaissance” the G-8 must take a clear lead in helping promote the new Green Revolution, they stated.
“In doing so, the international community would not only take a huge step towards securing food for all today and tomorrow – but also help relegate hunger and poverty to yesterday,” the statement concluded.