The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) warned that the declining prices of food could thwart efforts to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty.
FAO stated this on Monday that unless necessary steps were taken to guarantee decent incomes and livelihoods for small-scale producers, production would decline.
Director-General FAO, José Graziano da Silva said that globally, food prices are believed to be back to their long-term downward trend in real terms, as supply growth outpaces demand.
This follows the price surges experienced during the 2008-12 period and a prolonged period of volatility in food markets, Graziano da Silva told
At a high level meeting on on agricultural commodity prices at FAO’s headquarters in Rome, the FAO boss told Agriculture and Trade Ministers and other participants at the meeting.
“As policy makers, you are confronted by the challenge of keeping nutritious food affordable for the poor, while ensuring good incentives for producers, including family farmers.
“Low food prices reduce the incomes of farmers, especially poor family farmers who produce staple food in the developing countries.
“This cut in the flow of cash into rural communities also reduces the incentives for new investments in production, infrastructure and services,” the FAO Director-General said.
He underscored the need to consider the current decline in agricultural commodity prices in the context of the international community’s efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In a video address to the meeting, Azevêdo said that “under the right circumstances” trade provides people with opportunities to join global markets and helps to create incentives for producers to invest and innovate.
The “historic decision” struck in Nairobi in December 2015 by WTO members to eliminate agricultural export subsidies, according to Azevêdo will “help level the playing field in agriculture markets, to the benefit of farmers and exporters in developing and least-developed countries.”
To better develop future scenarios on the long-term behavior of agricultural commodity prices, Graziano da Silva said that FAO seeks to boost its modelling systems to better understand possible price swings and changes in trends and assist countries to formulate appropriate policies.