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6-3-08 (3rd Jun 08 at 4:48pm UTC)
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a food crisis summit held at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, 03 Jun 2008
In a speech at the start of the world food security summit in Rome the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said food production must rise by 50 percent by 2030 to meet increasing demand. He added that nations must minimize export restrictions and import tariffs at this time and quickly resolve world trade talks.

The U.N. secretary-general said action must be taken immediately.

"Today's problem will only grow larger tomorrow unless we act now today," he said. "I call on you to take bold and urgent steps to address the root causes of this global food crisis. We want the firm commitment to moving ahead."

The U.N. chief said that only if the world acts together, in partnership, can this crisis be overcome. Hundreds of millions of people, he said, expect no less.

"Nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially when it is man made," he said. "It breeds anger, social disintegration, ill health and economic decline. In the name of the development goals we all set at the millennium, the right to food, and our common humanity, I urge all of you to act together now."

World leaders are meeting for 3 days in Rome at the headquarters of the United Nations food agency, FAO, the food and agriculture organization. They are discussing ways to resolve the emergency caused by soaring food prices and how to provide more food for the world's hungry.

The Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone read out a message by Pope Benedict to delegates at the summit.

In light of the current situation, the pope said in his message, hunger and malnutrition are 'unacceptable' in a world that has enough resources. The Pope said the world has enough resources and know-how to end hunger and its consequences.

The U.N. food agency's Director-General Jacques Diouf said the time for talk is over and that action is urgently needed. He appealed to world leaders for $30 billion a year to relaunch agriculture and avert future threats of conflicts over food.

Diouf said that the structural solution to the problem of food security in the world lies in increasing production and productivity in the low-income, food-deficit countries. He said the current world food crisis has already had tragic political and social consequences in different countries and could further endanger world peace and security.

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