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Financial crisis may escalate food prices worldwide: UN

Source: PTI
October 15, 2008 17:51 IST
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The global financial crisis is exacerbating concerns about surging food and fuel costs, which has pushed 75 million into poverty, the United Nations chief said on Wednesday, terming the turmoil a 'colossal human tragedy'.

"The situation would be alarming enough if it were confined to a matter of hunger, but a wide-spread lack of food triggers other threats, from social unrest to environmental degradation," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement on the occasion of the World Food Day on October 16.

Moon said 800 million people across the globe were going to sleep hungry every night even before prices started rising sharply. The effects of climate change, too, threatened to confront million more with mal-nutrition and water shortages.

And now with energy costs rising and the price of food having more than doubled last year alone, an additional 100 million could be victims of huger and poverty, he said.

Terming the crisis long term, he called for 'meaningful partnerships' among governments, organisations and citizens to realise the Millennium Development Goals, the most important being reducing hunger and poverty by a half by 2015.

The UN has set up a task force on global food security crisis, which puts together a comprehensive framework to chart the way forward for governments, the donor community, civil society and the private sector, he said.

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organisation on Wednesday released its annual report on Biofuels-- Prospects, Risks and Opportunities.

Though bio-fuels offer opportunities for agricultural and rural development, it has its impact on commodity markets as well, it said.

"The growing demand for agricultural commodities for the production of biofuels is having significant repercussions on agricultural markets, and concerns are mounting over their negative impact on food security," the FAO statement said.

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