UN agency chief warns of food crisis ‘civil war’

PARIS, April 25, 2008 (AFP) – UN food agency chief Jacques Diouf on Friday warned of civil war in some countries because of global food shortages and called for a revamp of the international food system. The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization said on France 24 television that international leaders had failed to act on warnings from his agency leading to what he called a “predictable catastrophe”.

Diouf said that “elected governments” must take “primary responsibility” before their people.

While demonstrations and riots over rising prices of staples such as rice and corn have ousted the government in Haiti, Diouf said he sees “civil war” as a potential danger for countries in sub-Saharan Africa but also in Asia and Latin America.

Asked if he agreed with International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s assessment that “those kind of questions sometimes end in war,” Diouf said “with the qualification, civil war”.

“Within countries, if, once again, all the necessary measures are not taken, there risks being clashes. We know there have already been deaths in some countries.”

Diouf went on: “Unfortunately, we always wait until there is a catastrophe in this world be