Global food prices have risen to their highest levels ever recorded since the UN Food and Agriculture Organization began its price index more than 20 years ago. “So far, high food prices in Asia today have not resulted in the same panic that gripped the region back in 2008. One reason for this is because the price of rice -- a key staple of the region and for much of the developing world -- has been relatively stable and has not experienced the same precipitous price jump as other foods. Nevertheless, the World Bank recently reported that an additional 44 million people have been forced into poverty as a direct result of the rise in food prices,” says Robert W. Hsu, Asia Society Senior Program Officer of Global Policy Programs.
“To address these challenges, Asian countries must first ensure that their poor populations are provided with adequate social safety nets, such as food transfers or subsidies, and nutrition programs are put in place to offset the impact of high food prices. More important, however, is to ensure that governments in Asia continue to increase investments in agriculture and rural development in their countries and support rural development strategies that maximize farmers’ access to both domestic and international markets. Crisis management in the face of volatile food prices is important. But addressing long-term needs and investing in solutions that increase the resiliency of the food system more broadly is the only guarantee against future food crises.”
Rob, who is in New York, is Project Manager for the Asia Society/International Rice Research Institute report, “Never an Empty Bowl: Sustaining Food Security in Asia." To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.