April 29th, 2008 07:56 EST
Ban Ki-moon will head hunger task force
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he will head a task force to deal with the unprecedented rise in global food prices.
Mr. Ban made the announcement in Bern, Switzerland, Tuesday at a two-day meeting with 27 key international agencies.
The agencies hope to hammer out emergency measures to combat the food crisis that is causing hunger, riots and hoarding in poor nations around the world.
The U.N. chief said the immediate priority is feeding the hungry.
He urged countries to fund the $755 million shortfall of the U.N.'s World Food Program.
Rising populations, strong demand from developing countries, increased cultivation of crops for biofuels, as well as floods and droughts have sent food prices soaring across the globe.
Mr. Ban said another priority is support for farmers to ensure food for tomorrow.
Mr. Ban and World Bank President Robert Zoellick called on countries not to ban food exports because this practice makes the crisis worse.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.