The world must produce 50 percent more food by 2030, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders yesterday at a summit hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
The UN leader urged nations to minimize trade barriers, and to produce more food. Pope Benedict XVI had a slightly different message, noting that the world already has the means to solve the problem. The Pope said: "hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world which, in reality, has sufficient production levels, the resources, and the know-how to put an end to these tragedies and their consequences."
While they meet about how to solve the immediate hunger crisis caused by rising food costs, world leaders don't want to look like a bunch of foodie hypocrites. To see what they'll be eating,
Leaders, including Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy, President Sarkozy of France, and Iran's Ahmadinejad, will dine off a more modest menu which includes: pasta, mozzarella, spinach and sweetcorn, instead of the usual lobster, goose, and foie gras. But don't worry, they'll still get to sample some Italian wines.
From where I'm sitting in America, surrounded by frequent news of chronic obesity, it's hard to imagine needing more food. The world leaders' decision to cut back on their own consumption may be a signal to those who have plenty, or to those who only experience the food crisis at the cash register, but not in their stomachs. Perhaps we need to increase the supply of food and cut back on demand in certain places.