Analyse commodity futures mkt to curb volatile food prices: UN

United Nations (UN) has called for action to curb food price volatility and suggested a proper analysis of global commodities futures market to discourage speculation that leads to price fluctuations.

"Food and nutritional security are the foundations of a decent life. Action to curb food price volatility is essential," UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said in a message to the General Assembly's high-level debate on 'Excessive Price Volatility in Food and Related Commodity Markets'.

The message was delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Moon underscored the "need to curb the volatility of global food prices through the strengthening of oversight and analysis of international commodities futures markets to discourage the speculation that leads to price fluctuations", UN said in a statement.

The secretary general pointed out that the rise in prices had caused the number of hungry people worldwide to swell to over one billion and pushed millions of households below the poverty line.

"Consumers are increasingly at risk of sudden drops in purchasing power, leading almost immediately to damaging reductions in the consumption of nutritious foods, especially by women and girls," the UN chief said.

The UN system is working together to address the structural challenges in world food systems, Moon said.

Since 2008, a High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, through UN's system-wide Comprehensive Framework for Action, has promoted a twin track approach, increasing production and ensuring access to social protection and safety nets, he added.

UN has also recommended to the G20 and Committee on World Food Security that international oversight and analysis of food commodity and futures markets be strengthened so that speculation and the drive for quick financial gain do not exacerbate volatility, Moon said.

Participating in the debate, UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said: "the discussion reflected a deep concern among Member States about the impact of excessive commodity price volatility on food security and sustainable development in developing countries."

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