(Updates with food security in second paragraph.)
Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Agricultural investment in developing countries will need to be “substantially increased” to meet the food demand of 9 billion people in 2050, farm ministers gathered in Berlin today said.
Average annual net investment in agriculture in those countries will have to be at least $83 billion, according to estimates by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization, the ministers said in a statement. There was no estimate of current investment. Non-food use of crops can affect food security, they said.
World food prices as tracked by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization have more than doubled in the past 10 years, while the U.S. price of corn, a raw material for ethanol, has more than tripled.
Biofuel production from agricultural commodities has contributed to surging world food prices in the past decade, Nestle SA Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe told the conference.
Blaming the tripling of the price of some food products on speculation is “completely wrong,” and politicians have failed to consider the link with energy markets, Brabeck-Letmathe said.
“It is really unbelievable that when we have insufficient food in our world that we give it to cars,” Brabeck-Letmathe said. “I plead very openly, no food for fuel. Give the food to people but not to cars.”