Food prices, a real threat: Temu

The increase in food prices in PNG is a real threat considering 41 per cent of the rural population and 16 per cent of the urban population live below the poverty line.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Sir Puka Temu made this revelation in his opening address at the Food and Security Conference on High Food Prices in PNG at the National Research Institute (NRI) in Port Moresby on Tuesday.

“It is estimated that 41 per cent (1.7 million) of the rural population and 16 per cent (800,000) of the urban population of PNG live below the poverty line, or one US dollar day; and this is a concern to this government,” he said.

Sir Puka said increased food prices were a threat to the livelihoods of Papua New Guineans, particularly the poor and low income workers in the urban areas who have large families to feed.
“They are forced to reduce their food consumption and meet their nutritional requirements. They are forced to sell off their productive assets and become trapped in debt and subsequently either engage in illegal activities or are pushed to poverty,” Sir Puka said.

The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as, to exist “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” The food security concept also includes the economic and physical access to food and if that food meets the dietary needs of people.

The minister called for partnership to build and improve the existing institutions to better address the long term structural factors that cause hunger and malnutrition.
“The idea is to realign and improve coordination among existing institutions and mechanisms so they can meet current and emerging challenges,” he said.

Source: Post Couruer, September 8, 2011

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