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Food insecurity growing, U.N. finds

Oct. 11, 2011 at 8:36 AM

ROME, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Food prices are expected to soar substantially with energy tied closer to agriculture and extreme weather events becoming more common, a U.N. report found.

A report from the heads of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program concluded higher prices for food are likely to make developing countries more vulnerable to food insecurity.

The agencies found that many African countries, which rely on imports for food products, are at significant risk.

The agency heads said as many as 600 million people suffer from hunger every day.

"The entire international community must act today and act forcefully to banish food insecurity from the planet," they said in a statement.

The report noted that demand from countries with growing economies, coupled with extreme weather events like the Horn of Africa drought, is complicating food security. The increased use of biofuels, meanwhile, is placing additional strains on agriculture systems normally used for food.

While private investments are needed to allay food insecurity concerns, the agency heads stressed, governments must do more to enact sound policies on food and environmental issues.

"More sustainable management of our natural resources, forests and fisheries are critical for the food security of many of the poorest members of society," they said.

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