Syndicate content

Experts debate solutions to food crisis at World Bank Open Forum

Donna Barne's picture



The problem of high and volatile food prices that have driven 44 million people in to poverty in recent months was debated at the World Bank’s Open Forum – a two-hour webcast event on the food crisis incorporating feedback from 3,000 participants in a 24-hour chat and more than 500 suggestions and comments that flooded in from people in 91 countries before the event.

Panelists, including commodity market analysts, the head of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), academics, and the Rwandan Minister of Agriculture, debated the impact of market speculation, crops being used for biofuels instead of food, food waste, lack of infrastructure to get crops to market, fertilizer prices, and trade barriers.

Panelists also tackled solutions, such as sustainable farming to increase agricultural productivity, easing trade of staple foods, and the need for greater transparency in food stocks.
The event came on the heels of the latest World Bank Food Price Watch report showing global food prices have risen 36% in the last year, led by maize (74%), wheat (69%) and soybeans (36%). Crude oil prices have increased 21% in the first quarter of 2011. 

 “We’re seeing a convergence of food and fuel markets in a way we’ve never seen. Over $70 a barrel, we know hunger will start rising at a very accelerated rate. When it’s over $100 a barrel we know we’re in a full-blown crisis,” said WFP Head Josette Sheeran.

Online participants in the event on the eve of the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings related personal experiences with hunger and high food prices.

“But still what I could not understand is why we have all these food price hikes all of a sudden?” said Zeritu from Ethiopia in a comment submitted in the weeks prior to the Open Forum. “It has grown to be a puzzle to me....like all of a sudden it is out of control.”

“I know of two tuberculosis patients right now that are suffering for lack of food,” wrote acTBistas.  “One in N igeria, Esther has no food to take her TB drugs or to feed her kids, and one in Tijuana, Mexico, where a mother is happy because her kid is taking TB treatment but sad because he is hungry and she has no money to buy food. Hunger is painful.”

They also offered solutions, such as encouraging shellfish farming, which “doesn’t need feed and can also help improve the water quality, providing extra ecosystem services,” said chat participant Jingjie.

“Given the need for dealing with hunger and nutrition, and also the opportunities to make agriculture a new source of jobs and a new source of income, this is the year to put food first,” said World Bank President Robert Zoellick in a video preceding the panel discussion.

Watch the event and read the chat transcript at Open Forum: Food Crisis.

Related
 

 

Comments

Submitted by Hailemelekot Teklu Kidane on
I believe that the world is connecting more and more. And food is not an exception and also developing countries. Just I want to say , World Bank also have to focus on a policy which can satisfy the small-scale and poor farmers. Please fertilizers, pesticides and HYBRID seeds are not been successful, I can see it in my country, Ethiopia. Make a policy which are in coherent with biodiversity, health, environment, low input agriculture system. how is world bank see country like Ethiopia, to make a foreign investment in their land by land grabbing to produce food and bio fuels for other countries when our people are hungry and malnourished. WHAT really is this cause (do you think this is effective??? With best Regards,

Submitted by Hailemelekot Teklu Kidane on
How developing countries like Ethiopia and poor small scale farmers contribute to the food security of the world? The World is connecting more and more, and Food is not the Exception According to the WFP Head Josette Sheeran. “We’re seeing a convergence of food and fuel markets in a way we’ve never seen. Over $70 a barrel, we know hunger will start rising at a very accelerated rate. When it’s over $100 a barrel we know we’re in a full-blown crisis,” The increase in price of oil has a direct influence in the price of food. Crude oil, for instance, increased 21% in the first three months of 2011, pushing food prices up because it raises the cost of inputs needed in agriculture, among other things. You can take the cost of input of production here like fertilizers, pesticides, and the like. (According to the recent World Bank open forum held for 24hours in April 15, 2011)- -- Yesterday. According to the latest World Bank Food Price Watch report showing global food prices have risen 36% in the last year, led by maize (74%), wheat (69%) and soybeans (36%). Crude oil prices have increased 21% in the first quarter of 2011. The Ethiopian food price is not out this exception, we are coming to the world trade system. We can see what the organized market place, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) is doing on five major crops (Coffee, Sesame, Maize, Wheat and Haricot bean); We are now becoming like the market in New York and Chicago. (We can see the price increase in coffee as an example. Two months ago, the price of a kilo of coffee in Ethiopia was ETB 57 ($3.45), but now it has gone up to ETB130 ($7.85). (It is around a 200% increase in two months). Effect of Industrial Agriculture on water quality The agriculture sector uses extensive amount of water directly compare to other sectors like Industry, chemical sector,food processing, paper, retail distribution, hotels, catering and education . Agricultural production releases residuals that may degrade the quality of the Nation's water resources and impose costs on water users. We can see also consider the effect of industrial agriculture on the external costs (environmental, social, health and the like), Which can be quantified by LCC and LCA. What do you think about the solution for this???? I say low input production like Organic Agriculture can secure food in the world especially low income consumers and producers. With Best Regards,

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Allowed HTML tags: <br> <p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.