ROME: Malaysia has urged developed countries to make a firm commitment towards eradicating global hunger that is affecting more than one billion people.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said they must expedite efforts to overcome the problem as it not only affected food productivity but also global security.
He cited the recent G8 Summit where US$20bil was pledged towards tackling hunger but the amount collected and distributed to poor countries had yet to be determined.
“We must ensure a more effective mechanism to help boost food production in developing countries,” he told Malaysian journalists on the sidelines of the World Summit on Food Security 2009 which began Monday.
Muhyiddin is leading the Malaysian delegation to the three-day conference which was organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The deputy premier is scheduled to deliver a country statement on the implementation of global governance reforms on food security on Tuesday.
More than 60 heads of state and government attended the meeting which was aimed at strengthening commitment from world leaders in the fight against hunger.
Muhyiddin said the summit’s objectives included mobilising US$30bil every year for public and private sector investments in rural infrastructures.
He said this would ensure access to modern inputs to boost food production and productivity in the developing world.
“There must also be mechanisms for farmers to earn income comparable to those of secondary and tertiary workers through agriculture support that does not create market distortions,” he said.
He added the summit would also adopt a mechanism for an early warning system for food crises.
Muhyiddin said the latest statistics showed that the number of people suffering from malnutrition and hunger had risen from about 800 million in 2007 and 2008 to more than 1 billion today.
He attributed the sharp increase to high food prices as well as the recent global economic and financial crisis.
“We view the situation seriously as we’ve had similar experiences in dealing with poverty and food security issues,” he said.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia’s policies were always geared towards eradicating poverty and boosting food productivity and security.
A roundtable discussion was held on Monday to brainstorm on ideas for minimising the impact of the food, economic and financial crises on food security.
Three other sessions will cover global governance reforms: Climate change adaptation and mitigation; rural development; smallholder farms and trade considerations.
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