Food insecurity, prices top agenda at UN talks

Food insecurity, prices top agenda at UN talks

Rome: The UN food agency FAO opened high-level talks in Rome on Monday aimed at tackling food insecurity, price shocks and the problem of vast tracts of land being bought up in developing countries, officials said.

“There are 30 countries in a state of serious food crisis requiring emergency food aid," FAO director general Jacques Diouf, a former Senegalese lawmaker, said at the start of the Committee on World Food Security meeting.

Diouf also referred to the problem of “increasing instability in commodity markets as reflected by more volatile prices."

“The number of hungry people should decline in 2010 to 925 million people... but it remains unacceptably high," he added.

The committee meeting of experts and officials will end on Saturday and the UN will be organizing a World Food Day celebration on Friday.

Activists are calling for the talks to redouble efforts to halve global hunger by 2015 -- a Millennium Development Goal. They will be organizing a series of protests and seminars in Rome this week.

They have also warned that the purchase of land in developing countries by richer nations to secure access to food is resulting in the eviction of local farmers and is increasing food insecurity in poorer countries.