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Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 08:58 UK

How should we feed the world?

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Food prices are higher now than they have ever been, partly due to bad weather but mainly because there is just not enough food to feed everyone and the shortage is pushing prices up.

Oxfam has warned that food prices will double in the next 20 years and that governments must provide more aid and more help for smaller farmers.

But could the solution be to open up agriculture to the international markets, and let foreign investors in?

Nicola Horlick, chief executive and co-founder of Bramdean Asset Management, has bought land in Brazil as part of its investments. She told Today presenter Sarah Montague that this will, over time, produce more food at cheaper prices thanks to the economies of scale introduced by investors.

"We're seeking to find good investments for our investors... who might be pension funds or insurance companies or individuals... we're looking for places to make money," she explained.

"And one of the great themes for investment managers at the moment is food and the production of food and farming. Because there's a shortage, therefore prices are rising and that means you're likely to make money as an investor."

But Oxfam's chief executive Dame Barbara Stocking says that much of the land bought up by investors is that which "small farmers work and live on... and they often don't have land title... and those people go off the land...

"There hasn't been investment in the small farmer," she explained. "To make sure people can feed themselves...they need investment... and a lot of that is going to have to come through state funding."

By 2050, she added, "it's predicted we'll need 70% more food to feed the world".


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