Jacques Diouf, head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said Monday that high commodity prices this year could force millions more people around the world to go hungry without substantial aid to poor countries.
Speaking at a conference in Bankok, Thailand, Diouf said the food prices remain 27 percent higher than in 2005 and called for wealthy countries to spend $30 billion to support farm production in developing nations.
The global financial crisis that has pinched lending in the U.S. has also reduced the credit available to farmers in poor countries, Diouf said, according to a report from Voice of America. That could result in growing numbers of hungry across Asia, where 600 million people are undernourished.
"If you look at the global problem, the first and most important element is the need to invest in agricultural production," Diouf said, VOA reported.
Diouf said $30 billion is a small amount compared to the trillions being spent to stimulate the global economy and bail out the financial industry.