FAO chief urges world leaders to take action to prevent food shortages

FAO chief urges world leaders to take action to prevent food shortages

Iza Ali, 25, selects vegetables to prepare a meal for her family at the Jere camp of people displaced by Islamist extremists in Maiduguri, Nigeria, on May 4, 2022. Iza Ali's five children are still waiting to eat at 3 pm. CHINEDU ASADU AP ROME, May 20 - The head of the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO said on Friday that the world's largest industrialized economies should take measures to anticipate future food shortages.

According to the director-general of FAO, Qu Dongyu said that the Russia-Ukraine conflict proved the need for a global effort to limit food prices like those currently threatening poor nations in Africa and Asia.

He said that we need to identify ways to make up for potential future gaps in global markets and work together to foster sustainable productivity increases where possible.

Qu's remarks were part of the lead-up to next month's Group of Seven G 7 summit in Germany, where dramatic increases in food prices are expected to be a topic of discussion.

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Even before the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the world's most vulnerable people were under threat. At the end of last year, around 193 million people in the world were acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance, according to FAO data. That number represents an increase of nearly 40 million people compared to a year ago.

We now have to face the conflict in Ukraine because of the dramatic content, said Qu.

The conflict has had a significant impact on world food prices, according to FAO data. In March, the 32 year old FAO World Food Price Index hit its all-time high after its largest one month increase - due to the impacts of the conflict. The index dropped modestly from its record high in April.

READ MORE: WB warns of food, energy price hikes due to Ukraine crisis.