At the end of last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the General Assembly on investment and financing of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In his speech, he highlighted the need to focus attention on agriculture, one of the most important sectors for the growth of LDCs.
"For too long now, we have ignored investments in
agriculture. In the past decade the cost of importing food in LDCs
has tripled. Global food prices have just reached record levels,
and LDCs face a real prospect of a new food crisis. Millions of people have
been pushed into poverty by the latest food price rises. I am especially concerned about the poorest
households, that often spend three-quarters of their income on food. They have no
buffer. When prices go up, they go hungry. Women and children are the worst
these challenges, he said, was a question of investment in the right places.
"My High Level Task Force is coordinating responses by
the UN system to respond to immediate needs, build up local food markets and
stimulate increased production. We need to invest more in sustainable agriculture –
especially in smallholder farmers and the infrastructure they need. This is important, both for food security and
competitiveness in international markets. And it means
investing in climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as in the
ecosystem services that underpin agriculture.