The world faces “the real risk of a food crunch” if governments do not take immediate action to address the agricultural impact of climate change and water scarcity, according to an authoritative report out on Monday.
Chatham House, the London-based think-tank, suggests that the recent fall in food prices is only a temporary reprieve and that prices are set to resume their upward trend once the world emerges from the current downturn.
“There is therefore a real risk of a ‘food crunch’ at some point in the future, which would fall particularly hard on import-dependent countries and on poor people everywhere,” the report states. “Food prices are poised to rise again,” it adds.
The warning is made as agriculture ministers and United Nations officials gather from Monday in Madrid for a UN meeting on food security likely to conclude that last year’s food crisis, with almost 1bn people hungry, is far from over.
The UN will warn ministers in Madrid that “as the global financial crisis deepens, hunger is likely to increase” under the impact of rising unemployment and lower remittances, according to three officials briefed ahead of the meeting.