The New Times (Kigali)

17 October 2012

Rwanda: World Food Organisation Decries High Food Prices

As the world commemorates the World Food Day today, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called on countries to tackle the soaring food prices that have been cited as the leading cause of extreme hunger, especially in developing countries.

A statement from FAO released on Monday, says price upswings in particular present a major threat to food security in developing countries.

According to the World Bank, during 2010 and 2011, rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people to extreme poverty.

"On World Food Day 2012, let us look seriously at what causes swing in prices and what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of the global society." the statement reads.

The day's theme focuses on having farmers' organisation to improve their livelihood and incomes as well.

The theme of this year's World Food Day is Agricultural cooperatives-key to feeding the world.

According to the WFP, working with agricultural cooperatives and farmer's organisations in many countries around the world will help improve crop quality, strengthen business practices and increase access to markets.

"In particular, WFP's Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project has worked with more than 800 farmers' organisations, comprised of more than one million smallholder farmers in 20 countries to build capacity and maximise developmental impact of food procurement," said a statement.

Rwanda is one of the countries that have signed up to the programme and so far it has benefitted a number of smallholder farmers.

A new report released by FAO shows that much as economic growth is necessary, it is not sufficient to accelerate reduction of hunger and malnutrition.

The report titled "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012" indicates that 870 million people were chronically undernourished.

The vast majority live in developing countries, where about 850 million people, or slightly fewer than 15 percent of the population, are estimated to be undernourished.

Rwanda has however been commended for ensuring food security.

It says that if a resolution by African states to spend over 10 percent of the national cake in agriculture development is upheld, hunger would be made history.

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