GENEVA (Reuters) – Leading figures from the
acted to quell panic over rice supplies on Monday, banning speculation in the market after a “chaotic” buying binge in the Southeast Asian nation highlighted growing global fears about food security.
A Vietnamese rice paddy worker….
The move by the world’s second-biggest rice exporter came as protests continued in some states in Africa over soaring costs for food and fuel which aid experts say threaten to push 100 million people worldwide into hunger.
Against this backdrop,gathered together the heads of 27 international agencies including the , World Food Programme and to coordinate a response.
Officials familiar with the closed-door session said the main priority was to ensure that food aid reached those desperately affected by surging prices of wheat, rice, dairy products and other dietary staples.
Ban, who has described rising food prices as a “global crisis” and urged world leaders to discuss ways to improve food distribution systems and production, will address the press in the Swiss capitalon Tuesday.
Experts have linked the problems to factors including drought in Australia, higher fuel costs, the use of crops for biofuels and speculation on global commodity markets.
U.S.is considering “what other aspects need to be taken care of” to help ease the crisis after announcing a $200 million increase in food aid earlier this month, according to White House spokeswoman .
“He’s really concerned about the humanitarian condition around the world,” she told reporters on Monday.
Meanwhile world aid groups continue to reel from the jump in food prices. World Vision, one of the globe’s largest humanitarian organizations, said it may have cut 1.5 million people, or 23 percent, from its aid program because of a strained budget.
“Despite our best efforts, more than a million of our beneficiaries are no longer receiving food aid,” said Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. “At least a third of these are children who urgently need enough healthy food to thrive.”