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Poorer countries set to be 'increasingly dependent' on food imports, says UN food agency report

A new initiative designed to cut costs and improve cotton yields in India’s Maharashtra state, is helping some of the country’s most vulnerable farmers.
A new initiative designed to cut costs and improve cotton yields in India’s Maharashtra state, is helping some of the country’s most vulnerable farmers. photo credit: IFAD
Poorer countries with rising populations and scarce natural resources are likely to be “increasingly dependent” on imports to feed their people, according to an annual report jointly compiled by the United Nations food agency, launched on Tuesday.

Although overall exports from countries and regions with plenty of agricultural land are forecast to increase, the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027 stressed that because agricultural trade plays an important role in food security, there needs to be an enabling trade policy environment.

According to the Agricultural Outlook, undernourishment is concentrated in conflict-riddled and politically-unstable countries – with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) facing simultaneous challenges of food insecurity, rising malnutrition and managing limited natural resources.

The report forecasts strong growth in agriculture and fishing in developing regions whose populations are rising fast, including Sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia and MENA. These areas are facing the challenge of limited land and water resources as well as extreme-weather related issues of climate-change, resulting in high dependence on food imports.

By contrast, this growth is predicted to be significantly lower in developed countries, particularly across Western Europe.

"The Green Revolution of the last century largely increased the world's capacity to feed itself but now we need asustainability revolution," said José Graziano da Silva, Director General, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presenting the report with Angel Gurría,  Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 04 July 2018 16:39

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