Long-term Global Food Crisis Looms: Experts Urge Immediate Action

Declining agricultural productivity and continued growing demand have brought the world food situation to a crossroads. Failure to act now through a wholesale reinvestment in agriculture—including research into improved technologies, infrastructure development, and training and education of agricultural scientists and trainers—could lead to a long-term crisis that makes the price spikes of 2008 seem a mere blip.

This stark warning, in line with calls from organizations such as the World Bank, the World Food Program, and Asian Development Bank (ADB), was issued by members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) following their meeting on 16-19 September at Institute headquarters in Los Baños, Philippines.

The global community needs to remember two key things,” said BOT Chair Elizabeth Woods. “First, that growth in agricultural productivity is the only way to ensure that people have access to enough affordable food. Second, that achieving this is a long-term effort. A year or two of extra funding for agricultural research is not enough. To ensure that improved technologies flow from the research and development pipeline, a sustained re-investment in agriculture is crucial.”

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