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Swiss farmers positioned to help the hungry

Switzerland must help farmers stay productive as a population boom and dwindling natural resources threaten to leave many hungry, the economics minister said.

Doris Leuthard, speaking during World Food Day at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) on Friday said more needs to be done to protect valuable farmland and water sources at home to better help those abroad.

The number of people who suffer from hunger grew from 850 million in 2005 to more than one billion in 2009, Leuthard said, quoting figures from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

By 2050 there will be 9.1 billion people living around the globe, up from 6.6 billion today. The FAO says world food production will have to double by then to meet that demand.

"This can only be accomplished through increasing efficiency and sustainable intensity," she said. "We are convinced that the challenge of food security can be met on a global level through coordinated, coherent and workable action under the leadership of the United Nations."

Leuthard said Swiss farmers must continue to produce high-quality food while the government should work to ensure open and free markets to export and import agricultural products.


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