Leading figures in the global fight against hunger gathered at the Milan Expo, Italy, to celebrate World Food Day, marking the 70th anniversary of the foundation of FAO with appeals to speed up efforts to eradicate hunger and improve the way food is produced and consumed.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva thanked the world’s farmers, fishers, forest workers and other food and agriculture workers for their contribution to the “amazing achievement” of increasing sustenance from all even as the world population tripled since 1945.
With around 800 million people still suffering from under nutrition, two big challenges lie ahead, he told assembled dignitaries, including the President of Italy, the President of Slovenia Borut Pahor, and Queen Letizia of Spain, who is FAO’s special ambassador for nutrition.
“First, we must quickly translate increases in food availability into better nutrition for all. Second, we must accelerate the shift of food production and consumption towards truly sustainable systems,” Graziano said.
“Good nutrition is one of the best sources of economic growth and it contributes to peace and stability.”
Referring to this year’s World Food Day theme ‘Social protection and agriculture – breaking the cycle of rural poverty’, he noted that “production and economic growth alone do not solve the problem, if the hungry remain excluded. India, Brazil and Ethiopia and other countries show us that increasing the power of the very poor to buy food offers an affordable key to hunger eradication.”
“Industrialized countries did the same to end widespread hunger after World War II,” he noted.
“The food stamps program in the US is one of the best examples.”
Social protection allows the hungry to “become empowered to escape hunger through their own efforts, thus lead dignified and productive lives,” he added.
“Hunger is more than a lack of food – it is a terrible injustice,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his address.
“We are here to build a global movement to end hunger. We have to forge new partnerships and create better ways of working.”
The UN Secretary-General emphasized the scale of food waste and loss, estimated as around a third of all the food produced globally.
“People everywhere know that waste is a disgrace,” he said.
Nearly 1,000 US Based Food-Related Non-Profits Recognized in this year’s Annual Good Food Org Guide Published by the James Beard Foundation and Food Tank