There will be an informal meeting of the Agriculture Ministers in Milan tomorrow (September 30) on the subject of how EU agriculture contribute to the food security.

The discussion document for the meeting highlights that the challenges of the 21st century are complex, interconnected and mostly related to the envisaged growth in world population for the next decades.

In less than 40 years the world population will increase by over 2 billion people and hunger, malnutrition and poverty risk are expected to enlarge their magnitude together with the environmental emergencies arising from the enhanced pressure on natural resources.

Food security occurs when all people, at all time, have access to sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious food for a healthy diet.

Currently, 805 million people, or around one person out of nine in the world, are suffering from chronic hunger and 500 million people have no access to safe water.

The concept of food security extends beyond these shocking figures. Food (in)security has historically been and still is both one of the main causes of civil unrest in many areas and one of the main factors influencing patterns of human migration. It is also a concern for the developed world, especially in times of economic crises.

Only in Europe around 50 million people are suffering from material deprivation and less than half have been provided with food aid.

The debate surrounding food security has recently been fuelled by consecutive peaks in agricultural commodity prices in 2008 and 2010/11. Food price inflation threatened the achievement of the

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), expanding the area of risk of food insecurity. Although concerns about food price volatility quickly climbed high on the global policy agenda, the implementation of tools to prevent and mitigate the effects of the so called “price crises” on a global scale is still a pending issue.