UN chief for sharp hike in global agriculture output

United Nations, July 20:

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a sharp hike in world farm output, warning that high food and fuel prices were threatening global poverty-reduction targets.

Addressing a day-long debate of the UN General Assembly on the global food and energy crisis, Ban warned, “The double jeopardy of high food and fuel prices threatens to undermine much of the progress made in achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).” He noted that the effects of climate change, including increased exposure to drought, rising temperatures, more erratic rainfall and extreme weather events, were threatening water and agricultural systems, potentially triggering malnutrition and water shortages for millions of people.

“To reach the MDG on reducing poverty and hunger by 2015, we need a Global Partnership for Food. Governments must be at the centre, but we all have to work together,” Ban said. “We must act immediately to boost global agricultural production this year,” he added.

“We do this by providing urgently needed seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming planting cycles, especially for the world’s 450 million small-scale farmers,” Ban said adding that UN agencies were already doing so.

He hailed the European Commission’s proposal to soon set up a special facility worth a total of $1.5 billion for a rapid response to the sharpening food crisis.