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Welcoming UN pledge, Concern warns more needed to combat food crisis

The UN food summit has committed to "eliminating hunger and to securing food for all". Concern welcomes this pledge but also warns this may not be enough to stem the current food crisis.

The summit’s delegates promised to tackle hunger by cutting trade barriers and stimulating world food production. The summit also pledged to double global food production by 2030 and focus on giving aid to small farmers in developing countries.

Mr Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern, says, “Concern is disappointed that the summit failed to address the immediate crisis regarding rocketing food prices that is currently affecting one in seven people worldwide. Millions of people in the developing world who are already living on the brink are being pushed over the edge by the recent price hikes. In the short-term, the poor need access to emergency supplies of food or, in other circumstances, cash with which to buy food.”

“The cost of averting humanitarian disaster as a result of the food price crisis is well within the reach of the international community. Concern welcomes the  large food aid pledges made at the summit, including $1.2 billion in World Bank grants, but these promises will have to be followed through at next month’s G8 summit in Japan.”

Food price increase

Global food prices have increased by 40% in the last nine months. In January 2008, international wheat prices were up 83% from one year earlier. The price of rice has also doubled in the last few months. These are the foods the poorest depend on. Many poor families spend up to 80% of their income on food, so even the slightest increase can have devastating consequences. Mr Arnold says, “Concern is already responding to the crisis on the ground. Our country teams are responding with food, cash, farm inputs and other measures required to help improve people’s incomes and people’s immediate access to food.”