In a new report, Rapid Response Assessment, the UN agency said a 100-year trend of falling food costs could be at an end. Sharp price rises in 2008 drove 110 million people into poverty, it said. World food prices are estimated to rise by at least 30% in the coming decades as the population climbs to more than nine billion.
“We need to deal with not only the way the world produces food but the way it is distributed, sold and consumed,” said UNEP’s executive director, Achim Steiner, “and we need a revolution that boosts yields by working with rather than against nature.” As cereal yields stagnate and fish catches decline, more than half the food produced today is lost, wasted or thrown away because of inefficiencies, Steiner said.
The report recommended price regulations for commodities, setting aside of larger stocks of cereal, and “safety nets” for people most at risk from hunger. More than a third of the world’s cereals were being used for animal feed, UNEP said – a figure that is expected to rise to 50% by 2050.
“We have a very serious problem on our planet,” Steiner said. “Simply ratcheting up the fertiliser and pesticide-led production methods of the 20th century is unlikely to address the challenge.”
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