South Korea must prepare for global food crisis: president


AFP

SEOUL — South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak called Monday for new strategies to help secure a stable supply of food amid growing concerns about a global food crisis. “The likelihood of a global food crisis is rising due to climate change. We need to set up national strategies and research to tackle the issue,” Lee’s spokesman quoted him as saying during a meeting with senior advisers.

Lee also called for a task force from the government and private sector to be set up to attract investment in farming, and stressed the need to tackle rising energy prices also blamed for fanning inflation.

Affected by surging global prices for oil and other commodities and higher domestic prices of agricultural products, South Korea’s consumer prices jumped 4.1 percent year-on year in January. South Korea has recently intensified efforts to secure stable sources of food and hedge against price swings. State-run Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp. said last month it plans with private companies to buy a U.S. grain trading firm this year to secure new sources of soybeans and grain. The United Nations warned last month that millions of people are at risk after global food prices hit their highest level, amid unexpected shortfalls due to bad weather and policy responses from some exporting countries.