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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Food security to be concern in 2012

By Zhou Siyu (China Daily)

10:06, December 28, 2011

BEIJING - The year 2011 began with fearful memories of the 2008 global food crisis. That was a time when surging food prices swept the world, giving rise to riots, trade bans, and panicked hoarding. Millions of people standing on the verge of poverty fell back into the pit. To many, the threat of hunger and malnutrition once again loomed on the horizon.

In February, the global food price index, established by the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization, increased to its highest point since it came into existence in 1990.

Governments in some developing and less-developed countries were particularly frustrated, as high food prices foiled their decade-long work to reduce poverty, led to resentments and upset social stability. Analysts said discontent with surging bread prices helped provoke the widespread uprisings in the Middle East.

During recent years, food price hikes have suggested that the low prices that were common since the 1970s have ceased to exist. That comes at a time when more mouths than ever have to be fed. The world's population is expected to increase from 7 billion this year to 9 billion in 2050, according to a projection by the International Monetary Fund.

The basic economic task of feeding the world's hungry has once again become daunting.

Various places' means of dealing with the approaching difficulties are likely to be different. In China, agricultural producers are fighting a battle on two fronts: they are simultaneously contending with a surge in demand stemming from the ever-increasing population and with a decrease in the amount of arable land, water and other natural resources that can be exploited.

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