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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Sarkozy

Food security is making the headlines again.  On Thursday the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index showed global food prices at the highest level since records began in 1990. Up for the seventh month in a row, prices are well above the 2008 levels which sparked riots, and the FAO noted they were likely to rise further. This is one of the reasons Nicolas Sarkozy, taking over the rotating Presidency of the G20 for 2011, put addressing commodity prices including food as one of the priorities on his agenda.  The World Economic Forum in Davos discussed growing food security challenges, with World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick suggesting ahead of the meeting that the biggest challenge facing the developing world in 2011 is the risk of a big boost in food prices.  With the events unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond it is clear that this warning was very prescient.  While the fundamental reasons for the civil unrest are many, increasing food prices combined with increasing poverty have played a role.  The question is where to from here in terms of future food security?  Can we actually do anything to rebalance supply and ever-increasing demand?  What are the implications for business?

Since the end of last year it has become more and more obvious that the world is facing greater challenges in terms of security of basic needs: food, water and electricity.  As the world population hurtles towards the 7 billion mark in the next year and possibly over 9 billion by 2050, the pressures will increase – but it’s not just population which is impacting our ability to fulfill basic needs.  Natural disasters, which the UN estimates cost the world US$ 109 billion in 2010, have flooded arable land, damaged crops and more.  Climate change is leading to desertification of large parts of the world and more volatile weather conditions impacting crops.  High levels of waste in the food supply chain – estimates suggest between 30% and 50% of food grown – mean we grow much more than we need.

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