Global Food Insecurity Could Become A ‘Permanent Disaster,’ Annan Says

Global food insecurity that has left almost one billion people hungry could become a “permanent disaster” and endanger millions of lives, former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan said, Bloomberg reports (Javier, 6/27).  

Annan, who chairs the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, was speaking at the opening of the 37th session of the FAO Conference, where delegates elected a new director general, according to an FAO press release. “Along with tackling the linked problem of climate change, delivering global food and nutrition security is the challenge of our time,” he said (6/25).  

“If countries cannot come together successfully to deliver food security – this most basic of human needs – our hopes for a wider international cooperation look doomed,” Annan said, Bloomberg reports. “We’ve seen a worrying rise in protectionism, unilateral export bans, land grabs and exclusive deals that meet the food needs of the rich but not the poor” (6/27).

“Like many experts in the sector, Mr. Annan sees Africa as the key to ensuring global food security in the future,” Wall Street Journal’s blog “The Source” reports. “Where others have called for a new type of green revolution, Mr. Annan called instead for an African revolution, centered on improving the lives of smallholder farmers. ‘Africa is the continent which has perhaps the greatest opportunities to help find solutions to global food insecurity,’ he said. ‘Even within existing cultivated land, a doubling of cereal yields would turn Africa into a major food surplus region,'” the blog writes (Henshaw, 6/27).