World Food Situation

A new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) details how global food demand and prices are likely to rise, creating great threat to the livelihoods and nutrition of the world’s poorest people. The report sites income growth, climate change, high energy prices, globalization and consumption as factors that are combining to change the state of food production, markets and consumption.

The report, “The World Food Situation: New Driving Forces and Required Actions,” was released today at the annual general meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

“Food prices have been steadily decreasing since the Green Revolution, but the days of falling food prices may be over,” said Joachim von Braun, lead author of the report and director general of IFPRI. “Surging demand for feed, food, and fuel have recently led to drastic price increases, which are not likely to fall in the foreseeable future, due to low stocks and slow-growing supplies of agricultural outputs. Climate change will also have a negative impact on food production, compounding the challenge of meeting global food demand, and potentially exacerbating hunger and malnutrition among the world’s poorest people.”

Changes in consumption are happening in many regions of the developing world, particularly China and India, which have experienced high economic growth in recent years. Coupled with a growing urban population, income growth is shifting spending and consumer preferences and seeing global food demand shift away from grains and other staples towards processed food and high-value agricultural products, such as vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy.

Smallholder farmers, who are keen to move into new income-generating opportunities represented by high-value products, are often severely limited by their ability to address safety and quality standards and produce large enough quantities for food processors and retailers.

: Environmental News Network

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