London, Jun 4: UN has said that the rich nations of the world have failed to pay heed to the warning that it gave to them about the increasing food crisis. According to a report in New Scientist, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have asked the world's countries for 30 billion dollars a year to "re-launch world agriculture" and deal with food shortages that have caused soaring food prices, hunger and unrest worldwide.
The call came at the start of a three-day intergovernmental meeting at FAO headquarters in Rome to deal with the doubling of average world food prices since 2000, which has accelerated sharply in the past six months.
FAO chief Jacques Diouf told the meeting that he had warned nations last year of the gathering crisis, and asked for 1.7 billion dollars last December to maintain food production in poor countries by giving farmers emergency access to seed, fertilisers and animal feed, the prices of which had jumped from 60 to 98% in the preceding year.
"It was all to no effect. Only when those excluded from the banquet of the rich went into the streets to express their anger and desperation were responses made," he said.
"Yet those emergency responses are against a background of steadily falling assistance for food production in poor countries," added Diouf.
Aid to agriculture has dropped by 58 pc since 1980, and fell from 17 to 3 pc of all development aid.
Diouf also called it "inexplicable" that despite globalisation, there has been little investment in preventing communicable animal and crop diseases, including the Ug99 strain of stem rust which, he said, threatens wheat crops in India and China.
According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, food production will have to increase 50 pc by 2030 just to deal with projected population increase.
"Countries must support promising research into the optimal production of crops and better animal production, as well as applying known technologies to the existing food chain," he said.
"There will not be peace and stability if we do not put all the money possible into developing agriculture in countries that need it," said French president Nicolas Sarkozy.