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Last updated: 03 June, 2008 - Published 14:49 GMT
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No land for bio-fuel : President
President addressing FAO in Rome (photo Sudath Silva)
President says his priority is to develop agriculture sector
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled out the use of arable land for the production of biofuel.

The Sri Lankan president was speaking at the UN World Food Summit held in Rome on Tuesday.

"Sri Lanka is firm in the decision that no land that can be used for food will be used for bio-fuel whatever the commercial attraction may be," said Rajapaksa.

"We will continue to give the highest priority to increased agriculture, dairy farming and fisheries to face up to the challenge of ensuring adequate food for our people."

In his speech to the delegates, Rajapaksa also pointed out that developing regional buffer stocks of food could help reduce poverty in developing countries.

Regional buffer stocks

"I would like to request the FAO to initiate a global mechanism for developing regional buffer stocks of staple food. A regional buffer stock of staple food will take pressure off governments in the SAARC enabling them to concentrate on other issues such as reducing poverty."

He also added that forming a global food crisis fund would help countries faced with food security issues, and provide financial support in order to increase agricultural yield.

Sri Lanka delegation at the summit (photo Sudath Silva)
The summit comes in light of soaring food prices and the additional challenges posed to achieving global food security

"I strongly commend to the world leaders gathered here to seriously consider the setting up of a Global Food Crisis Fund that will have contributions from all countries and from large business organizations"

The three day summit comes in light of soaring food prices and the additional challenges posed to achieving global food security.

Amongst the delegates attending the summit are UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

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