World headed for 'permanent' food crisis, says UN rep
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has announced the world is likely entering a permanent food crisis, which could lead to further political unrest and reform in the international food system, website Thisdaylive.com reported.
Speaking at the quarterly business luncheon of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), UNIDO Nigeria office director Dr. Patrick Kormawa said food industry reforms would need to be radical, the story reported.
He cited a recent Oxfam report which predicted staple food prices would more than double in the next 20 years, leading to an 'unprecedented reversal in human development', the story reported.
"According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria spends about N300 billion (US$1.92 billion) on food imports alone (food, beverages and processed combined)," he was quoted as saying.
The Oxfam 'Growing a Better Future' report predicted climate change would be a major driver of global food price rises, while the world's poorest people who spend 80% of their income on food would be the hardest hit.
"By 2050 demand for food will rise 70 per cent yet our capacity to increase food production is declining. The average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of one percent in the next decade," Oxfam said in a release.
"Eight million people, a great majority women and girls, face chronic food shortages in East Africa today. Increasing numbers of regional and local crises could see demand for food aid double in the next 10 years."