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Kofi Annan Urges Sustainable Farming to Avert Food Crises

June 28, 2011
Joy News/Ghana

Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan believes increased sustainable farming is the only way out of the current global food crises.

Speaking during the biennial conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization which has just appointed a new Director-General, he advocated measures that could be adopted to ensure the crisis is managed.

“For if countries cannot come together successfully to deliver food security – this most basic of all human needs – our hopes for wider international cooperation look doomed. Yet even on food there has been in recent years an ominous retreat from the idea of common purpose based on shared values,” he said.

Mr Annan said there had been a worrying rise in protectionism, unilateral export bans, land grabs, and exclusive deals that meet the food needs of the rich but not the poor.

“That is why I passionately plead that along with tackling the problem of climate change, delivering global food and nutrition security is the challenge of our time but daunting as the barriers are, they are not insurmountable. We have after all, doubled food production before so we must not despair,” Mr Annan encourage. 

He called on the FAO to step up its efforts to develop a fair and transparent framework to tackle hunger and deliver food security and also warned against the sale of agricultural lands.

“It is very disturbing that a recent report found that agricultural land that adds up the size of France has been bought in 2009 alone by hedge funds and other speculators. It is neither just nor sustainable for farm lands to be taken away from communities in this way nor for food to be exported when there is hunger on the doorstep. Local people will not stand for this abuse and neither should we,” he warned.

He said if however, “larger commercial firms integrate their activities within the community serving as hubs that link small scale holders to value chains, sharing knowledge and best practices, they can play an important and positive role.”

The conference appointed José Graziano da Silva as its New Director-General. He is the FAO’s eighth Director-General since the Organization was founded in Canada in October, 1945.