Food price rise does not signify crisis: WFP

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The current rise in food prices does not signify a global crisis, as the situation is "fundamentally different" from previous crises, according to Brett Rierson, director of the World Food Programme's China Liaison Office.

Rierson noted in an interview with Xinhua that global food prices remain high and volatile and the drought in the United States has resulted in sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices.

"But rice prices remain stable, and other conditions make the situation fundamentally different from previous crises," he added, citing high inventories and generally good production prospects in Asia as major reasons for the stable rice prices.

Moreover, countries around the world are better poised to respond to the challenges now than they were five years ago, Rierson said.

He stressed the need for governments to strengthen safety net programs, including food or cash transfers, food subsidies and school meals, as ways to reach the poorest families in times of need, as the price rises will hit them hardest.

During the interview, Rierson also acknowledged China's achievements in food production over the past decade.

"Other than exporting food to hunger-stricken countries, China is also exporting experiences and technologies," he said.

China's grain output this autumn is likely to hit a record high and bring a ninth year of consecutive growth in the annual output, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture forecast Friday.

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