Rome (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Friday that global shortages of food and spiraling prices threaten widespread destabilization and is urging immediate action to forestall a repeat of the 2007 and 2008 crisis that led to riots in dozens of countries around the developing world.
Clinton told a meeting of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization that urgent steps are needed to hold down costs and boost agricultural production as food prices continue to rise.
Although the situation is not yet as dire as it was four years ago, she said the consequences of inaction would be “grave.”
“We must act now, effectively and cooperatively, to blunt the negative impact of rising food prices and protect people and communities,” she said at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome.
The U.N. estimates that 44 million people have been pushed into poverty since last June because of rising food prices, which could lead to desperate shortages and unrest. Clinton said the world could no longer “keep falling back on providing emergency aid to keep the Band-Aid on.”
She said more attention should be paid to improving seed quality to boost agricultural production as well as educating farmers on the best practices and encouraging governments to prevent food hoarding.