Oct 23, 2011
World Food Day 2011 Conference
The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) held on Monday at Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre at Bell Village a conference on "Food prices: from crisis to stability". Two academic staff, Mr Shane Hurdowar and Mrs Roshini Brizmohun- Gopaul gave talks on related issues to theme.
The aim was to raise awareness among stakeholders of the need to stabilize food prices. Mauritians spend about 40% of their income on food against 75% in poor countries and 15% in developed countries.
Amadou Moustapha Kamara, FAO representative for the Indian Ocean, was present at this conference.
"Rising food prices and inflation affect everyone. The poor and children are most vulnerable. Many people are worried about their food, which is becoming increasingly difficult. "said Faugoo Satish, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, at the opening of the conference to highlight the importance of changing attitudes in order to control price rise, both in production at the level of consumption.
"The prices affect not only consumers but also farmers who end up producing too much or too little. With a stable market, they can get steady income, "said the minister. He said the price volatility can ruin farmers and discourage investment in "an area that is a necessity." Moreover, he said, newcomers, too, hesitate and move away from agriculture.
Satish Faugoo recalled that Mauritius, being a Net Food Importing, is not immune to the global phenomenon of price volatility. "Prices of food, inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, and energy we did realize the need to revise our production system. It is a challenge for the government, who acted promptly and proactively, "he said, citing the many projects and assistance plans formulated and implemented for farmers. From: self-sufficiency to 80% successful in the production of potatoes, or even 100% this year, and increased production of fresh milk from 2% to 10%.
For its part, the FAO representative for the Indian Ocean reminded that food prices were stable for several decades, but it is no longer the case today. "If we have to solve the problem of hunger, efforts should be made to stabilize prices, especially for those who spend the bulk of their income on food, "said Amadou Moustapha Kamara. He said the causes of price volatility are well known. "We need political will to solve them. "
The FAO representative also explained that the global market for food is very tight with supply struggling to keep pace up with the demand and stocks are becoming lower. "Floods and droughts affecting some areas affect prices. Agriculture can not respond fast enough with more production due to lack of investment in research, technology, equipment and infrastructure. "
Finally, Mr. Kamara said, price stability in the market depends on investment in agriculture, especially in developing countries where 98% of the population live, suffer from hunger and that food production must double by by 2050 to feed the growing populations.