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Clinton raises alarm on rising food prices

May 10, 2011

From Yahoo News

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Friday that global shortages of food and spiraling prices threaten widespread destabilization and is urging immediate action to forestall a repeat of the 2007 and 2008 crisis that led to riots in dozens of countries around the developing world.

Clinton told a meeting of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization that urgent steps are needed to hold down costs and boost agricultural production as food prices continue to rise.

Although the situation is not yet as dire as it was four years ago, she said the consequences of inaction would be “grave.”

“We must act now, effectively and cooperatively, to blunt the negative impact of rising food prices and protect people and communities,” she said at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome.

The U.N. estimates that 44 million people have been pushed into poverty since last June because of rising food prices, which could lead to desperate shortages and unrest. Clinton said the world could no longer “keep falling back on providing emergency aid to keep the Band-Aid on.”

Speaking to a room full of ambassadors to the Rome-based U.N. food agencies, Clinton warned that some countries had adopted “unwise” policies such as export bans during the 2007-2008 food crises “that only made matters worse” by driving up prices, encouraging hoarding and panic buying and discouraging farmers from producing more.

From Yahoo News

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