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FAO seeks political will to eradicate hunger

By Dharam Shourie
October 17, 2008 12:44 IST
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The UN food agency has sought a  political and financial push to boost sustainable agriculture in poor countries and double global food production, saying that such a move would forge a world of economic and social progress.

In a message on the occasion of the World Food Day, Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Jacques Diouf said it is known what needs to be done to eradicate hunger among 923 million poor and double the food production to feed a population which is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2030. But what is needed is the political will.

He noted that only 10 per cent of the $22 billion pledged to promote global food security earlier this year has so far materialised "mainly for emergency food aid".

"What we need ... is political will and delivery on financial commitments, if we are to be able to make the essential investments that are needed to promote sustainable agricultural development and food security in the poorest countries of the world," Diouf said.

That, he stressed, is the surest way of forging a world of economic and social progress and creating the conditions for peace and security of humanity.

Pope Benedict XVI,

in a message, said that a lasting solution to hunger in the world lay in the promotion of an international order based on social justice.

The world produced enough food to feed a growing population, he noted. If people went hungry, it was partly because of a "race for consumption" which "imposes forced reductions on the nutritional capacity of the world's poorest regions".

Other reasons, the Pope said, included lack of political will by nations but also "runaway speculation", together with "corruption in public life or again growing investments in weapons and sophisticated military technologies to the detriment of people's primary needs..."

"An essential condition for increasing production, safeguarding the identity of indigenous populations as well as peace and security in the world is to guarantee access to land, thus helping agricultural labourers and promoting their rights," the Pope added.

Climate change and bio-energy are the focus of this year's World Food Day activities, involving over 150 countries. They include a third edition of the popular 'Run for Food' to take place in Rome on October 19, involving over 4000 people, with a similar event to be held simultaneously in Milan.

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Dharam Shourie
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