The state of food insecurity in the world 2008. High food prices and food security – threats and opportunities

The state of food insecurity in the world 2008. High food prices and food security – threats and opportunities

High food prices in the world: combatting food insecurity and malnutrition

This report presents the latest statistics on global food insecurity and undernourishment. It reviews the impact of high food prices on global nutrition and concludes that chronic hunger in the world has increased rapidly, now affecting well over 900 million people. This places tremendous pressure on achieving hunger reduction targets set for 2015 as agreed under the first Millennium Development Goal.

The paper finds that high food prices hit the poorest, landless and female headed households hardest, affecting real incomes and raising the prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition. It also finds that governments worldwide have adopted measures to contain the negative impacts of high food prices. However, these have had limited effect, with some proving detrimental to world price levels and stability. The report further finds that world hunger is increasing and that the World Food Summit (WFS) goal of halving the number of undernourished people in the world by 2015 is becoming more difficult to reach for many countries.

The paper recommends the following strategies to combat food insecurity and malnutrition in the world:

  • donors should urgently respond to requests for assistance to address hunger and malnutrition food assistance emergencies through expanded relief and safety net programs
  • governments should encourage smallholder access to appropriate seeds, fertilizers, animal feed, technical assistance and other inputs
  • governments should improve market infrastructure and ensuring that food and agricultural policies are conducive to fostering food security for all
  • a people-centered policy framework supportive of the poor in rural, peri-urban and urban areas and people’s livelihoods in developing countries should be embraced
  • donors and governments should step up investment in science and technology for food and agriculture and increase cooperation on researching, developing, transferring and disseminating improved technologies and policy approaches
  • governance and policy environments should be established that will facilitate investment in improved agricultural technologies
  • leaders should address the challenges and opportunities posed by biofuels, in view of the world’s food security, energy and sustainable development needs.
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