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Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Future Food Security Patchy for Developing Countries

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Improvements in food security in developing countries will be patchy in the first decade of the new millennium, according to a draft paper prepared for the upcoming World Food Summit.

"In many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, per caput food supplies may remain stubbornly inadequate to allow for any nutritional progress to be achieved, even though for the developing countries as a whole the average may rise to over 2,700 calories/day by the year 2010," writes Dr Nikos Alexandratos, chief of the global perspectives studies unit at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. His paper, prepared for the World Food Summit slated for Rome November 13-17 1996, is a review of developments in world food and agriculture and food security from the early 1960s to the present, with a look toward the year 2010.

"Under the circumstances, and given population growth, the numbers of undernourished may decline only marginally from the current 800 million, though this will be a smaller percentage of the total population. The dependence of the developing countries on food imports is likely to continue to increase with net imports of cereals growing to over 160 million tons by 2010."

It is expected that between now and 2010 the former centrally-planned economies of Eastern Europe and the former USSR will first reduce their net imports of cereals and later, become net exporters. But, Alexandratos writes, "while the capacity of the world as a whole to increase food production to match the growth of effective demand may not give cause for excessive concern, production growth constraints facing individual countries will continue to be a major factor conditioning the prospects for progress in food security."

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