Business, Finance & Economics

U.N. food plan

It's a crisis that hits the poor the hardest and the World Food Program Director today stressed the importance of the situation. The outcome of a meeting today was a new UN task force to tackle the crisis. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also called on the international community to donate $755 million dollars for the WFP, and he stressed the importance of planning ahead. For weeks now experts have been detailing the combination of extreme weather, soaring energy prices, and rising demand that have contributed to a huge spike in food prices, which have led to protests and riots around the world. This WFP official blames what he calls three policy failures: the neglect of small farmers in the developing world, a misguided emphasis on biofuels, and policies such as grain export bans. He wants to see immediate action on humanitarian aid, reinvestment on agricultural research and technology, and policy reform. His research suggests a moratorium on grain-based energy research and production also could have a big impact, but President Bush downplayed the impact of biofuels. This official says the politics of food are turning complicated. The biggest message from analysts is that short term fixes won't be enough to stave off severe food shortages: demand is outstripping supply around the world. Moon said crisis management should focus on Africa.

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