(dpa) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged the world's industrialized nations to work out a strategy to combat rising food prices that have sparked unrest in a number of countries recently.
Brown, in a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the current chairman of the group of G8 industrial nations, said the international community needed a fully coordinated response to the problem.
He suggested that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations (UN) should work together "urgently" to develop an international strategy for short-term action as well as a longer term plan.
"Rising food prices threaten to roll back progress we have made in recent years on development. For the first time in decades, the number of people facing hunger is growing," the letter released by the government Thursday said.
Brown said responses should support developing countries which import food and are facing higher bills. Agriculture in developing countries should be be supported to increase the opportunities for people to help themselves through trade.
"We may need to increase, at least in the short-term, the scale of our support for humanitarian programmes, as food aid becomes more expensive," he said.
"This must be accompanied by continuing emphasis to ensure we avoid creating dependency on food aid."
The letter also suggested the production of biofuels be examined to see what impact growing crops for fuel was having on food prices.
He said it was essential to ensure that the use of biofuels was "responsible and sustainable."
According to the government, Brown's letter was also copied to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Robert Zoellick of the World Bank.