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Food Prices Rise In September After Two Months Of Relative Stability, FAO Says

“Global food prices rose by 1.4 percent in September after holding steady for two months as cereals, meat and dairy prices climbed, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO] said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports (10/4). “[T]he FAO Food Price Index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, rose to an average of 216 points in September after remaining stable at 213 points in August, the FAO said in its monthly update,” according to Reuters (Hornby, 10/4). “Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the FAO, said that food prices were likely to remain high and volatility could increase,” BBC News writes (10/4). Bloomberg Businessweek notes “[t]he U.S. State Department estimates that surging food prices triggered more than 60 riots worldwide from 2007 to 2009” (Ruitenberg, 10/4). “Despite the rise in food prices, the United States Mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome released a statement on Thursday saying it had agreed with other countries that a meeting of the emergency Rapid Response Forum under the G20 agriculture body [Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS)] was not necessary at the moment,” Reuters states (10/4).

'Political Will' Needed To Implement Solutions For Long-Term Food Security Challenges

“This month, President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative received a $1 billion pledge from U.S. organizations to address the root causes of hunger and poverty,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) writes in the Huffington Post’s “Politics” blog, noting, “This pledge came on the heels of a $4 billion pledge by more than 60 companies from Africa and other continents.” He continues, “As co-chairman of the Congressional Ethiopia Caucus and the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, I commend these pledges and look forward to working with the administration as they are implemented.” However, he adds, “[t]hese are short-term fixes … to the long-term issues of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition facing millions.”

Journalists, Policy Experts, Bloggers Discuss Hunger Situation In Africa's Sahel

“Journalists, policy experts, bloggers (including myself) and World Food Programme staff joined in a robust discussion last week about the current hunger situation in Africa’s Sahel region, including its causes and what can be done moving forward,” Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, writes in this post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, noting, “In the Google+ hangout, streamed on YouTube, Denise Brown, the World Food Programme’s country director for Niger, logged on from the capital, Niamey, to report precisely what is happening in the region and how people are faring in the wake of no rains, failed crops, and increased food prices.” She continues, “One of the primary points that Brown emphasized was about early warning systems and data propelled early intervention,” and concludes, “The state of the hunger crisis in the Sahel dictates that aid must happen now. But those who are working in the region, like Brown, understand that to prevent another food shortage next year ideas to combat another hunger season have to be employed” (6/8).

Media Line/All Headline News Examine Agriculture Investment Gap In Middle East

“Arab countries need to invest some $144 billion in agriculture over the next 20 years to meet the food demands of the growing population, an Arab agricultural organization has said,” the Media Line/All Headline News reports in a piece that examines the contributing factors to gaps in food security in the region.

WFP Looks To Improve Aid Delivery In Volatile Environments, BMJ News Reports

BMJ News examines how the World Food Program (WFP) has started consulting with members of the business, humanitarian and military sectors in an effort to ensure aid reaches the world’s hungry, particularly those in regions hit by natural disasters or other volatile environments.

Also In Global Health News: Vaccine Suspension; E. Africa Food Security; GMOs; Somali President Responds; China’s Food Security

WHO Suspends Distribution, Purchase Of Pentavalent Vaccine A WHO spokeswoman announced Wednesday that the agency “has suspended the distribution and purchase of the Shan5 vaccine, produced by Sanofi-Aventis’s Indian unit Shantha Biotechnics, pending a quality investigation,” after several reports of white sediment on the walls of the vaccine vials, the…