UN: Food prices likely to remain volatile, high

Prices for rice, wheat and other key foods are expected to remain volatile and possibly increase and poor farmers and consumers particularly in Africa will be hurt most, the U.N. food agencies said in its annual report. A study also predicted that prices will be 20 percent higher for cereals and up to 30 percent higher for meat in the coming decade compared with the past 10 years. There is urgency for greater long-term investment in the agriculture sectors of poor countries so farmers can bolster production to meet increasing demand and cope better when food crises hit. Read more here.
Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Activists oppose import of genetically modified foods

Kenya’s environmental and food security activists called on the government to recognize and support organic agriculture practiced by most small scale farmers to avoid imports of genetically modified (GM) foods. Kenya allowed importation of genetically modified food in 2009 and also controlled growing of genetically modified crops. The activists said the introduction of patented seeds and related chemicals into the farming systems threatens Kenya’s agricultural practices, livelihood, the environment, and undermines national seed sovereignty. According to the activists, hunger is not caused by under-production of food, but because people have no money to buy food and therefore the genetically modified maize may be as expensive and will not solve hunger problem. Read more here.

Targeting gaps in the food supply Chain

Agricultural production is only the first step in moving the world’s food from farm to fork, according to Nourishing the Planet, a project of the Worldwatch Institute. The other links in the food chain: harvesting, packaging, storing, transporting, marketing, and selling ensure that food actually reaches consumers. Inefficiencies in these activities, rather than just low yields or poor farming techniques, are often to blame for food shortages and low prices for growers. For instance, In Uganda, the organization Technoserve works with farmers to improve market conditions for sales of bananas. Technoserve helps individuals form business groups that receive technical advice and enter into sales collectively. Such coordinating businesses can decrease transaction costs, and helps farmers to market their crops. Read more here.
Hotel News Resource

G20 attacked on food crisis plan

The US, Brazil and China have joined forces to water down the G20’s first-ever communiqué on agriculture, defeating proposals to reduce the use of biofuels and export bans, which have contributed to close to record food commodities prices. The two-day meeting (22-23 June) came after France made food security and commodities regulation a centrepiece of its G20 presidency after the 2007-08 food crisis and the more than 36% spike in global food prices over the last year. The G20 ignored many of the recommendations of a report it commissioned by international bodies, including the World Bank, the FAO and the IMF, asking for policy ideas for the meeting on how to deal with rising food prices. Read more here.
Javier Blas

Ensuring food security in Africa

Since 2008, Africa has been experiencing a food crisis, as global food prices increased, partly because of rising fuel prices, among other factors. According to most experts in the field agriculture remained the strength of most African economies, and if agriculture was given priority attention in Africa, the region had the capacity to withstand the vagaries of rising global food prices. Governments in Africa have to focus more attention on developing their countries’ agricultural sectors by making efforts to boost food production. Read more here.

UN Agency Opens up Access to Largest Database of hunger statistics

FAO announced comprehensive database on food, agriculture and hunger is now open to the public, free of charges. The database contains over one million data points covering more than 200 countries. FAOSTAT designed to support monitoring, analysis and informed, evidence-based policy-making specifically related to rural and agricultural development and hunger reduction. Read more here.