GLOBAL - Declining prices could thwart international efforts to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty unless steps are taken to guarantee decent incomes and livelihoods for small-scale producers, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva has said.
Globally, food prices are believed to be back to their long-term downward trend in real terms, as supply growth outpaces demand.
This follows the price surges experienced during the 2008-12 period and a prolonged period of volatility in food markets, Graziano da Silva told Agriculture and Trade Ministers and other government officials and experts, attending a high-level meeting on agricultural commodity prices at FAO's headquarters in Rome.
"As policy makers, you are confronted by the challenge of keeping nutritious food affordable for the poor, while ensuring good incentives for producers, including family farmers," he added.
"Low food prices reduce the incomes of farmers, especially poor family farmers who produce staple food in the developing countries. This cut in the flow of cash into rural communities also reduces the incentives for new investments in production, infrastructure and services," the FAO Director-General said.
He underscored the need to consider the current decline in agricultural commodity prices in the context of the international community's efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Graziano da Silva said major steps in improving matters for small producers include proper management of increased global trade to ensure they see the benefits, improving collaboration between institutions to encourage more local consumption of food and boosting modelling work to understand price swings better.
FAO says there is a high probability that over the next 10 years some abrupt price surges may occur, mainly as a result of climate change.
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