Fine Gael Seanad agriculture spokesperson Paul Bradford issued the warning as UN envoy Olivier De Schutter described food shortages affecting 100 million people worldwide as “a silent tsunami.”
Mr Bradford said Ireland and Europe should be producing food to cater for the needs of humanity. Reducing production at this time was wrong.
“The real crisis the world faces relates to a shortage of food and the possibility of major famines and general hunger, ” said Mr Brady.
“This is happening at the same time agriculture is experiencing major difficulties as a result of the desire to reduce — rather than increase — production. In the past five to six years the world consumed significantly more food than it produced.
“We must aspire to ensure that the farmlands of Ireland, Europe and the world are used to produce animals and food in order to cater for the needs of humanity.”
Senator Bradford said the crisis relating to the dire and alarming number of food shortages is even greater than that of climate change. It requires urgent political attention, particularly in the context of the world trade negotiations.
“We are attempting to resolve this problem in the wrong way. We must ensure that agriculture in Ireland and throughout Europe is strengthened, not weakened,” he said.
“Irish farmers and their European counterparts should be paid premiums to produce food, not to allow their lands to lie fallow,”
Protests, strikes and riots have already erupted in developing countries around the world after big rises in the prices of wheat, rice, corn, oils and other essential foods that have made it difficult for poor people to make ends meet.
Poor harvests, global warming, increasing demand and the use of food land for biofuel production have all been blamed as factors in the crisis.