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Press Release 97/6


ROME, 26 February -- "Investing in Food Security" will be the theme of this year's World Food Day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

The role of investment in agriculture was stressed by the World Food Summit in November 1996. In the Summit's Global Plan of Action, governments unanimously agreed that incentives and policies should be created to encourage private and public investment to contribute to food security.

Most of the investments needed to feed a rapidly growing population will be made by the farmers themselves, according to FAO. Agriculture-related investment in developing countries will need to increase from its current US$ 135 billion to $166 billion per year. The major part of the extra $ 31 billion required annually would, according to FAO, come from farmers investing their own labour and funds in land improvement, new machines, irrigation, livestock herds and plantations, and in the post-production chain.

Of the remainder, representing an additional US$ 12 billion per year, some $ 7 billion, would need to come from governments, and the remaining $ 5 billion from international financing sources.

"In 1996, the World Food Summit focused public attention on the plight of over 800 million people around the world who suffer from chronic undernutrition. In 1997, we are moving on to solutions. Particularly at national levels World Food Day provides an important opportunity to promote those solutions", FAO stated.

A public information campaign, including concerts and fund raising activities for projects in low-income food-deficit countries will lead up to the World Food Day.

World Food Day, marking the founding of FAO on 16 October 1945 in Quebec City, Canada, is observed annually in about 140 countries and is designed to raise public awareness on the problem of hunger and malnutrition and their solutions.

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