Saying the two problems have become "grave threats" to the world economy, Abdullah said "bold measures" must be taken to "guarantee the well-being of our economies and our peoples' future".
"This meeting must come out with a clear message on the need to boost food production in the world. This is especially needed in the context of additional difficulties brought about by climate change and natural disasters," he said.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's president, echoed those remarks, saying the challenge of food and energy security had surpassed the challenge of globalisation.
The D8 agenda also involves liberalising trade, easing travel restrictions and working towards the development of sustainable energy polices.
But Abdullah stressed the importance of food production, even at the expense of one of Malaysia's own large industries, biofuel production.
"The widespread conversion of arable land to cater for the production of biofuels should be stopped because such action will deepen global food scarcity and drive up food prices," he said.
The D8 consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey and was formed in Istanbul in 1997.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, is also attending the summit.