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FAO chief warns conflicts, climate likely to fuel more food crises

FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu. Photo via @FAOIndonesia

Bali, Indonesia | Xinhua | The head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned Wednesday that conflicts and climate-related impacts will remain as major drivers behind food crises, and called for resilience and more efforts for peace.

Soaring global food prices sparked in part by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine are having “devastating implications” for global food supply and nutrition, especially in the most vulnerable countries, said FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.

He made the remarks while speaking to agricultural ministers from member states of the Group of 20 (G20) in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday, according to a FAO news release.

“The human, social and economic costs of conflict are always immense, and peace is a precondition for the resilience of national and international agrifood systems,” he said.

Qu noted that the trend hurts both sides of the food supply process. “Food prices are very high for consumers, and input prices are very high for farmers.”

The five highest levels of the FAO Food Price Index have all been recorded this year, sparked by higher energy prices and supply chain issues related to the Ukraine crisis. The index dipped slightly in recent months, and new data for September are expected to be released early next month.

Qu’s remarks came less than four months after FAO proposed a Food Import Financing Facility aimed at helping economically vulnerable countries to access credit that will help fund emergency needs while investing in sustainable domestic food production systems.

“We need to avoid that a food access crisis also becomes a food availability crisis,” Qu said.

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