Billion pledged to global food crisis

World leaders have made "extraordinary" commitments to short-term food crisis solutions but more work is needed on long-term solutions, the head of the United Nations food agency said. Countries and delegations pledged more than $1 billion in food aid to meet emergency needs, said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme.

Delegates agreed to invest more in agriculture -- such as providing small farmers in poor countries with fertilizers, seeds, and farm equipment -- with the goal of increasing worldwide food production by 50 percent by 2030.

The financial and food assistance and the support for agriculture are the two immediate, short-term goals.Officials said the two steps are needed as a quick fix, but they urged countries to think about solutions for many years to come.

"As long as you have subsidies from rich countries combined with a free trade agenda in developing countries -- which means the poor countries open up to rich ones -- their farmers can't compete with subsidized goods coming in from Europe and the U.S.," said Alexander Woollcombe, a spokesman for Oxfam. "When prices go up, as they are at the moment, that means people in these countries cannot afford food."

The summit was not supposed to produce a deal or a worldwide agreement on tackling hunger. Rather, it was intended to come up with recommendations and solutions that countries and international organizations could implement.


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