“Drought in some areas and heavy rain in others are keeping world food prices near record levels, threatening the food supply for poorer, food-importing countries,” the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its biannual report (.pdf) on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports (Rai/Henshaw/Moffett, 6/8).
Food Security and Nutrition
“We need a global approach to achieving food security,” Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader and chair of the DuPont Advisory Committee on Agricultural Innovation and Productivity for the 21st Century, writes in a Politico opinion piece.
IRIN reports on a World Conference on Humanitarian Studies panel discussion about the manufacturing of nutrition-rich foods to treat malnutrition in the developing world.
Health officials in Germany are continuing to search for the source of an E. coli outbreak after tests on suspected sprouts from a farm in the north of the country came back negative, Deutsche Welle reports.
German officials on Sunday said an E. coli strain that has sickened more than 2,000 people and killed 22 may have originated in a batch of sprouts produced at an organic farm in the north of the country, the New York Times reports.
The food safety office of the WHO on Thursday announced that the bacterium responsible for the E. coli outbreak in Europe is a strain never seen before in humans and could mean “the infection could prove unusually difficult to bring under control,” Nature News reports (Turner, 6/2).
“Any system that produces enough food for the entire world and yet fails to feed one in seven people, which is subject to rampant speculation and land-grabbing, and where crops and land that could be used to feed people are instead turned into fuel for Hummers, is patently not working,” a Guardian editorial says.
With food costs rising for the second time in three years, Oxfam released a report on Tuesday predicting “the price of some staples such as corn will double in the next 20 years amid a permanent crisis caused by rising demand, flat crop yields and climate change,” Forbes reports (Max, 5/31).
In a piece on The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Eva Clayton, a former Democratic member of Congress from North Carolina and assistant director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization between 2003 and 2006, calls on the World Bank to invest more in women farmers in the developing world, after the agency “largely ignored the role women and small entrepreneurs can play in the developing world to improve food security” at an April 2011 meeting.
“Washington cannot allow food insecurity to exacerbate instability in already volatile regions. We are not doing all that must be done,” Catherine Bertini, a former executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, and Dan Glickman, a former agriculture secretary, write in Politico.