H. E. Mr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, President
24 September 2008
© UN Photo
Click for caption and to enlarge
BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, President of Malawi, said the food crisis was the result of failure on the part of all nations to increase and sustain the production of staple foods such as wheat, rice, potatoes, lentils, fish and poultry. Other contributing factors included severe climate changes, which reduced agricultural productivity and food security; high dependence on rain-fed agriculture; low budgetary allocation to food production in many countries, especially in Africa; diversion of food crops towards the production of biofuels; and the preference of commercial farmers to grow cash crops rather than food crops.
He went on to say, that serious pollution through deliberate dumping of toxic wastes and hazardous materials by Northern industries into rivers, seas and other water sources had spoiled coastal land and destroyed tourism, in addition to damaging agriculture in developing countries. World leaders had ignored signs pointing towards this global food crisis, which was now threatening the social and economic stability of all nations. Food crises also led to riots which had, in turn, led to political instability. World leaders should be part of the solution and move food supplies from surplus areas to deficient ones.
The food crisis even negated the gains in economic growth and trade that were manifested in developed and developing nations. Rich nations should share research, science and technology in food production and processing with poor countries. The United Nations should urge industrialized countries to increase allocation of resources to agriculture and food production, and persuade the private sector in those countries to increase investment in food production and agricultural science and technology.
The United Nations should support also the Alliance for an African Green Revolution, he said, in order to acknowledge Africa’s capacity to help remedy the problem. All nations, big or small, rich or poor, must work together to eliminate the global food shortages, famine, hunger and malnutrition.