The UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, has called for a second look to be taken at the use of food crops for extraction of bio-fuels.

The situation he said could undermine food supply and put populations in grave danger.

He also appealed to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to help enhance agriculture production instead of promoting policies that relegated it to the background.

Dr Supachai was speaking at a meeting with civil society groups holding a forum in Accra as part of the UNCTAD XII conference.

He said he believed the current food crisis hitting most parts of the world could be the result of the creation of artificial shortages through hoarding and imposition of trade barriers.

“There is the need to act fast to ensure that the crisis situation did not deteriorate further,” he said, adding however that the immediate response should not be only to transfer food but also provide the necessary financial resources to enable countries hardest hit to withstand the crisis and recover.

Dr Supachai called for enhancing agricultural production through increase budgetary allocation to the sector.

Besides, attention must be paid to developing infrastructure such as irrigation, mechanization and communications to make it easy for crosschecking food prices.

As a long-term measure, Dr Supachai said, the various impediments to agriculture production in the developing countries, especially those that border on provision of incentives to farmers, must be resolved.

There is also the need to revive the idea of a green revolution for Africa.

In all these, Dr Supachai said, the United Nations had a great and crucial role to play, adding that the UNCTAD conference provided an opportunity to tackle the food and financial crisis that had hit the world.

The civil society forum would finalise the civil society statement to be delivered at the opening plenary of the main conference.

Deliberations in the Civil Society Organisations Forum are on issues from the four sub-themes of the conference – Free Trade Agreements, Investment Agreements, Commodity Markets and Prices; Cultural Rights; Conflicts and Wars and Global Governance and Multilateralism.

UNCTAD XII currently going on in Accra has as its principal theme: “Addressing the Opportunities and Challenges of Globalization for Development.”

Some 4,000 representatives of UNCTAD’s 193 member states, including some Heads of State and participants from other international bodies, non-governmental organizations, business and academia are expected to attend.

Source: GNA


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