Delegates to a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation conference in Lisbon have been warned that the world's food situation is now precarious, despite improved grain stocks.
Delegates to a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation conference in Lisbon have been warned that the world's food situation is now precarious, despite improved grain stocks. The decline in the growth of food production in the Third World is seen by experts as a disturbing trend. The delegates were attending the 11th Regional European Conference of the FAO on Monday (2nd October).
SYNOPSIS: The Ritz Hotel, Lisbon was the scene of the six-day conference, which was attended by ministerial-level delegations from all European countries. According to the Fourth World Food Survey, the number of people suffering from malnutrition is constantly increasing. The FAO, which is a co-ordinating agency for development programmes, published a disturbing study in August which showed that recent increases in African food production have failed to even keep pace with population increases.
The Director-General, Edouard Saouma of Lebanon, whose five-year term ends in 1981, told the conference in his opening address that "in spite of encouraging results in some developing countries, the position of the majority remains critical".
Mr. Saouma said growth in food production in the Third World had fallen ten per cent in the last decade. The situation is even worse in Africa where food production has declined by 1.4 per cent each year since the beginning of the seventies. At that rate, by 1985, the continent would be producing only 81 percent of its food requirements.
Delegates were told that as the growth in home food production failed to keep pace with increasing population, Third World countries were becoming increasingly dependent on expensive imports to feed their people. Mr. Saouma said he was disappointed that aid for development contributed by member governments had steadily fallen to less than half that needed to reach the FAO target. Assistance to agriculture in general was also seriously below the required level.