Abu Dhabi: As the number of hungry people in the world reaches nearly one billion — a problem exacerbated by climate change, floods, droughts, earthquakes and political unrest — the top United Nations agriculture official said yesterday the UAE's agricultural policy is on the right track in its contributions to global food security.
"We commend the UAE for always having a vision as far as food security is concerned. Shaikh Zayed used to say ‘give agriculture and I'll give you civilisation'," said Dr Jacques Diouf, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Diouf said the UAE's agricultural policies are moving in the right direction. But given constraints in production and the increase in population, the country should develop partnerships with other countries that have land and water to increase food production and avoid the imbalance between supply and demand which is leading to price inflation.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that inflation in food prices could lead to turmoil in poorer importing nations.
The United Nations' top agriculture official warned that unless agricultural investments are dramatically increased, the goal of cutting by half the number of hungry people by 2015 will be achieved only by 2150.
"The OECD countries' goal set and the commitment made to provide 0.7 per cent of GNP to official development assistance has not been achieved, but the share of agriculture which had reached 19 per cent in 1990 and thus allowed enough investment to avoid famine in Asia and in Latin America. That 19 per cent went down to 3 per cent in 2006 and now it is around 5 per cent. You don't develop a sector by cutting investment to the sector," said Dr Jaques Diouf, FAO director general.