44 Nations Attend Food Conference in Vietnam

Posted March 12th, 2012 at 2:05 am (UTC-5)
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A senior U.N. official says rising food prices and frequent natural disasters are making it harder to ease hunger and malnutrition in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hiroyuki Konuma, an assistant director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, made the remark Monday to representatives and observers from 38 countries at a conference in Vietnam.

He said the challenge of eradicating hunger has also been complicated by the effects of climate change, trade policies, soaring crude oil prices and the growing use of food crops for biofuels.

Konuma said huge investments will be required to meet future food needs, noting that production will have to rise by 60 percent worldwide to feed the projected global population in 2050.

The Hanoi conference is scheduled to run for five days and feature in-depth discussions on policy and regulatory issues, including the state of food and agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region, and an initiative to map food security and nutrition actions.

Later this week, ministers will review a report on measures to speed up progress toward the goal of cutting hunger levels in half in Asia-Pacific by 2015. That target was set at a World Food Summit in 1996.