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UN chief calls for sharp hike in world farm output

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 – UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a sharp hike in world farm output, warning that high food and fuel prices threatened much of the progress made in reaching global poverty-reduction targets.

Addressing a day-long debate of the UN General Assembly on the global food and energy crisis, the secretary general warned: "the double jeopardy of high food and fuel prices threatens to undermine much of the progress made in achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs)."

And he noted that the effects of climate change, including increased exposure to drought, rising temperatures, more erratic rainfall and extreme weather events, were threatening water and agricultural systems, potentially triggering malnutrition and water shortages for millions of people.

"To reach the MDG on reducing poverty and hunger (by 2015), we need a Global Partnership for Food," Ban said." Governments must be at the center, but we all have to work together."

"We must act immediately to boost agricultural production this year," he added. "We do this by providing urgently needed seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming planting cycles," especially for the world\’s 450 million small-scale farmers."

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