A study report in this regard is set to be released soon

Concerned over the sharp increase in food prices at a time when the world is grappling with the challenge of increasing food production to feed the increasing population, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has decided to encourage countries to promote their “underutilised traditional foods” and increase their production.

A FAO study on the impact of increase in food prices as well as food shortage in different countries, set to be released soon, will deal with this issue, according to FAO Assistant Director-General Hiroyuki Konuma.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a regional workshop on “Mobile technologies for food security, agriculture and rural development”, organised by the FAO in Bangkok recently, Dr. Konuma said the study was an effort to learn from the experiences of different countries on mechanisms to cope with the double impact of increase in food price as well as shortage of food. The study was conducted in several Asian countries, including India.

Food habits

Dr. Konuma expressed concern that change in food habits, especially among younger generations, had resulted in some of the countries moving away from their traditional staple foods in favour of imported food. Such a trend was bound to have an impact on lower income groups during the times of food shortage and increase in food prices, he observed.

Pointing out that such traditional staple food was nutritious and would suit the local requirements in terms of cultivation, he said the FAO would organise a symposium from May 31 to June 2 in Bangkok to promote under-utilised traditional food resources.

“Efforts should be made not just to promote traditional staple foods, but also to increase their production,” he said.