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Small-scale Farmers Need Incentives as Falling Food Prices likely to affect Incomes, says UN report

Prices for the main food crops, livestock and fish products all fell in 2015, signaling the likely end to an era of high prices, according to FAO, a U.N. agency

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FILE - A farmer works in an irrigated field near the village of Botor, Somaliland. VOA
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Falling food prices may be good news for millions of urban poor but not for small-scale farmers who will struggle to feed their families without help and incentives, such as an end to export subsidies, said the Food and Agriculture Organization on Monday.

Prices for the main food crops, livestock and fish products all fell in 2015, signaling the likely end to an era of high prices, according to FAO, a U.N. agency.

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The lower food prices, which are expected to continue for several years, mean poor families who are not farmers can afford more nutritious meals, FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva told agriculture and trade ministers at FAO’s headquarters in Rome on Monday.

“You are confronted by the challenge of keeping nutritious food affordable for the poor, while ensuring good incentives for producers, including family farmers,” Graziano da Silva said at the high-level meeting on agricultural commodity prices.

“Low food prices reduce the incomes of farmers, especially poor family farmers who produce staple food in developing countries,” he said.

“This cut in the flow of cash into rural communities also reduces the incentives for new investments in production, infrastructure and services,” he added.

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One way to help small farmers cope with falling commodity prices is to end agricultural export subsidies that affect prices in global markets, Graziano da Silva said.

Last December, countries in the 164-member World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to end these subsidies – developed countries immediately and developing countries by the end of 2018.

The decision will “help level the playing field in agriculture markets, to the benefit of farmers and exporters in developing and least-developed countries,” WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo told the meeting in Rome.

Social protection programs and schemes like food vouchers, are also essential ways to boost farmers’ incomes while making food affordable for other poor families, Graziano da Silva said.

A series of price surges between 2008 and 2012 and volatility in food markets sparked food riots or unrest in parts of Africa, South America, South Asia and the Middle East.

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Prices have since become less volatile and are now steadily declining, following strong harvests, global economic slowdown and falling oil prices, but they remain higher than in the 1990s, according to a joint OECD/FAO report.

In the next decade, the growth in demand for food is likely to slow, as population growth falls and incomes rise slowly, the Agricultural Outlook report said.

People in both developed and developing countries are expected to eat more processed food, so the demand for sugar, oils and fat is likely to rise faster than staples and protein.

However, climate change is likely to cause some abrupt price surges over the next decade, it said. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)