UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday said the presence of one billion hungry people in the world was unacceptable and noted that farmers are the "heart and soul" of food security and poverty reduction.
Speaking at the World food Summit that kicked off today at Rome, Ban said, "They (farmers) need seeds and extension services. They need secure water supplies...they need better market access and fairer trade... We must resist protectionism and end subsidies that distort markets."
Ban warned that the current food crisis is a wake-up call for tomorrow since by 2050 the planet's population will be 9.1 billion people, over two billion more than today.
"This day, more than 17,000 children will die of hunger. One every five seconds... The world has more than enough food. Yet, today, more than one billion people are hungry," he said.
The UN Secretary-General spoke about the scarcity of agricultural land.
"We must transform agricultural development, markets and how food is distributed. That is the only way we can meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015," he said.
Emphasising that combating climate change was central to tackling world poverty, Ban said, "Next month in Copenhagen, we need a comprehensive agreement that will provide a firm foundation for a legally binding treaty on climate change."