In an address to mark World Food Day, the Director General outlined the causes of the fluctuations, placing blame on supplies struggling to keep up with demands, with stocks being at near historical lows and droughts and floods hitting key producing regions, squeezing prices further.
The Director General stated that “Agriculture cannot respond fast enough to the increase food production because of long-term under investment in research, technology, equipment and infrastructure.”
“Increase wealth means many people worldwide are eating more with people worldwide eating more meat and dairy products, driving up the price of animal feed. Eighty million people are born each year creating more demand for food,” the FAO official said.
In net level food importing countries, price rises can hurt poorer countries with the high prices paid for importation. This badly affects farmers, because they need to know the prices of their crops; because if prices are higher, more needs to be planted and if prices are low, less is planted to cut cost, the official explained.
He went on to appeal for greater policy coordination in international trade which he said is needed to help maintain an assured flow of goods
The FAO supports national and regional safety nets, featuring emergency food reserves that can help the needy during crisis and where poor consumers can be assisted with cash or food vouchers.
World Food Day was celebrated on 16th October but a week-long programme of activities is scheduled until 21st October.