Global food production must increase by 70 percent from its current levels by 2050 if the international community is to meet booming demand, the head of the UN's food agency Jacques Diouf said on Tuesday.

"Food production will need to increase by 70 percent to meet future world demand," Diouf, the head of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, told delegates at a conference of international lawmakers in Geneva.

"This will have to happen in the face of several challenges, specifically increased scarcity of natural resources, climate change," he warned.

The UN diplomat expressed his concern about the "worrying" lack of food security and said there were currently some one billion starving people worldwide.

"This means 105 million people more than last year," he said.

Diouf argued the solution to tackling the world's hunger problem lay in "boosting agricultural production and productivity" in poorer countries by using financial help from richer nations.

"If there is a will, there is a way," he said.

Diouf was speaking at the Inter-Parliamentary Union's annual conference, which has made the issue of food security a key topic for this year.

With parliamentarians from some 100 countries attending, delegates are expected to vote on a non-binding resolution Wednesday on how to tackle the problem.

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