U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Friday that unless action is taken to hold down spiraling food prices prices, the consequences will be grave.
Clinton told a meeting of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization that urgent steps are needed to hold down costs and boost agricultural production as food prices continue to rise.
Clinton said the combination of food shortages and rising prices could cause widespread destabilization. Such an event could lead to a repeat of the food crisis about four years ago that started riots in dozens of countries.
"We must act now, effectively and cooperatively, to blunt the negative impact of rising food prices and protect people and communities," she said at the FAO's headquarters in Rome.
Since last June, the United Nations estimates that 44 million people have been pushed into poverty due to rising food prices.
Clinton says to help protect people and communities, the world must take action now.
Jacques Diouf, FAO's director-general, thanked Clinton for raising the issue and said the FAO, backed by the Group of 20 countries, was working on a series of studies about how to better manage the risks associated with food price volatility.