Hunger may get worse: WTO chief

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WTO chief Pascal Lamy warned Friday that the food crisis may get worse over the next years as the world's population grows and arable land recedes.

"Today's situation is not good and it may get worse in the coming years because of population growth, dwindling available (farm) land and a change in food habits," Lamy told a roundtable on the sidelines of a summit of French speaking countries.

"Food security is a moral and political must," he added.

Lamy called on governments to divert more money to the farming sector and put an end to waste which he said was responsible for a 30-percent drop in worldwide food production.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, also speaking at the same occasion at the summit of International Organisation of Francophonie, said it was a "scandal" that "1.5 billion people (...) are suffering from hunger".

"But this is not a question of fate (...) for as long as there is a political will, priorities and the general conditions for trade in basic foodstuffs can be set," she added.

Nestle group chairman Peter Brabeck warned of increasing purchases of arable land in Africa by countries like China and South Korea.

"Is this positive for African farmers? I doubt it," said Brabeck. "This is a big challenge which should be resolved quickly, or it will be too late."

© 2010 AFP

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