Food crisis :The solutions

The first priority in alleviating this crisis must be to ensure food security in all
countries so that rapid and secure food supplies can be guaranteed for those
in need. Only by ensuring economic safety mechanisms that with certainty can reach the poorest people, the unemployed, waged workers and vulnerable
groups such as women can the international community prevent the financial
and economic crisis from worsening an already grim situation. This means that
the more than 70 developing countries already experiencing problems with
their balance of payments because they are struggling to pay their import bills
for essential food staples require help. Financial assistance must be granted
but without the same, failed policy conditionality from the international financial
institutions. The policies that contributed to the creation of this crisis cannot
be a part of the solution.
Another immediate action should be eliminating politically supported subsidies
that boost biofuel production while diverting food crops into fuel, as biofuel
production is heavily subsidised by industrialised countries and as a result,
biofuels are estimated to account for at least 30 percent of recent food price
rises.
Furthermore, more effective regulatory mechanisms are needed in the
agricultural commodity and futures markets, to limit and contain the speculation
that helped drive up food prices during 2008.
In the longer run, investment in rural infrastructure must be increased in
developing countries. Assistance to small-scale agricultural production in
developing countries would contribute to enabling the world to restore the
supply-demand balance for food at a lower price level. Such assistance must
take place under the right terms to achieve economic, social and environmental
sustainability including decent work and respect for international labour
standards for rural workers. The production of foodstuffs in developing
countries for domestic consumption at accessible prices is essential in
ensuring domestic food security and reducing poverty, by providing some
security against escalating world prices for basic commodities. The provision
of universal social protection, which the ILO is currently implementing a
major campaign to achieve, is another part of the international framework for
combating hunger.
The above combination of recommendations shows that there is no one, magic
solution to the global food crisis. Yet governments must accept their role. They
are failing when more than 963 million people are living in hunger and the
number of poor people increases by more than 150 million in one year due
to high food prices. In today’s interdependent world, that is not acceptable.
The international community must accept its joint responsibility to deliver an
effective right to food for all the world’s citizens.

 


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