The State of Food and Agriculture 2000
World food and agriculture: lessons from the past 50 years
The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 reports only very modest growth in world agricultural production in 1998, and the estimates for 1999 do not appear to indicate any improvement. Particularly for the developing countries, where the performance of the agricultural sector is of special concern, prospects for 1999 are for a noticeable slowdown in crop and livestock production - reflecting a negative trend that is now in its third consecutive year. It has been a difficult period for many of these countries, which have been facing unusually adverse climatic conditions, together with the negative economic impact of the financial crisis that erupted in 1997, declining prices of several of their major commodity exports and, in a number of cases, political instability and conflicts. Food supply disruptions associated with these problems have led to the outbreak or persistence of serious food emergency situations in a large number of countries - currently more than 30 - around the world. The close of a millennium is an opportune time for studying the past with a view to seeking lessons for the future. In its special chapter, "World food and agriculture: lessons from the past 50 years", The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 reflects on humankind's achievements and failures in fighting poverty and hunger over the past half-century - a theme that stimulates both historic and prospective thought.
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