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Access To Food Must Be Considered In Talks Focused On Global Financial Crisis, WEF Participants Say

Business and political leaders meeting in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Thursday agreed that the focus on the global financial crisis “won’t matter unless people have one basic thing: Enough food to eat,” the Associated Press reports. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “estimates there are at least 925 million undernourished people in the world — almost one in seven,” the AP notes. FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said, “The problem is not the supply side. … The problem is the access — they don’t have the money to buy it or they don’t have the water and land they need if they are subsistence farmers,” according to the news service (Heilprin, 1/26).

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “expressed optimism” that food production could keep up with population, citing “[i]nnovations in crop science, access to information for farmers and new models of cooperation between governments and private enterprises” as ways to improve global food security, the Economic Times reports (1/26). Gates noted that malnourished people, especially children, are more susceptible to infectious diseases, according to the AP. “For the billion-plus who don’t get enough food, the effects are quite dramatic. … I’m fairly optimistic that this is coming back on the agenda,” Gates said, the AP notes (1/26).