The food crisis has not gone away

Food prices have diminished somewhat but the food crisis has not gone away:
as long as the factors that caused it have not been tackled, it remains all too
likely to return in the near future. And almost one billion people live in constant
hunger. With the attention of the international community turned to the global
financial and economic crisis, the real danger is that the world hunger situation
may deteriorate even further.
This report has been prepared to highlight these risks. Workers suffered
significantly from the food price explosion over recent times, and the trade
unions that represent them are demanding action. The global financial and
economic crisis makes this more, not less urgent. As the UN’s Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns, the economic crisis and the current
credit crunch combined with temporarily lower prices of some agricultural
commodities might lead farmers to grow less food, and if this should transpire,
the world will have to brace itself for another dramatic rise in food prices in
the coming year.
If anything useful is to come out of the food crisis, we will have to learn from
past mistakes. Now is the time to act, and if the international community is
determined to halve the number of hungry people by 2015 in line with the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the UN, serious political will and
commitment is needed. The trade union movement is demanding more
investment in the agricultural sector and universal social protection coupled
with respect for core labour standards to bring about the decent and sustainable
production of food and other agricultural products. The right to food must be
considered a basic human right for everyone.
Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary, March 2009


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