The G8 group of wealthy nations have pledged to invest up to $12bn in sustainable farming over the next three years as part of what the body called a major “food security initiative”.

The injection of funding, much of which will come from the US and Japan, comes as part of a new drive to tackle the growing global food crisis.

"The combined effect of longstanding underinvestment in agriculture and food security, price trends and the economic crisis have led to increased hunger," a new report by the body states.

"Food security is closely connected with economic growth and social progress as well as with political stability."