United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a UN crisis summit on rising food prices at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome June 4, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
As much as 15 billion to 20 billion US dollars would be needed yearly to help fight the food crisis amid soaring prices, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in Rome on Wednesday.
"Substantial new resources will be needed, perhaps as much as 15 billion to 20 billion US dollars a year as our efforts build up," Ban told a press conference on the sidelines of a world summit on the food crisis hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Ban said most of the money would come from concerned countries themselves, but bilateral donors, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and development banks also need to contribute.
In a twin-track strategy outlined Tuesday to tackle soaring food prices, the UN chief urged the international community to take immediate steps to increase food availability to vulnerable people in the short term, and called for more investment in agriculture, especially in developing countries, as a long-term solution.
"We must not address only the immediate symptoms of the problem – that of soaring food prices. We must focus on the underlying causes of the problem: years of neglect of the agricultural sector around the world, and the lack of investment in increasing productivity," Ban said at the press conference.