Press Release 00/21
THE UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION AND ITALIAN DAIRY PRODUCTS GIANT PARMALAT SIGN COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT TO FIGHT WORLD HUNGER
Rome, 10 April 2000 - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Parmalat, Italy's largest producer of dairy products have signed a cooperative agreement to work together in the fight against world hunger, the UN agency announced today. Under the terms of the agreement, Parmalat will provide 3 billion Italian Lire ($1.5 million) over three years to sponsor FAO activities aimed at reducing world hunger.
The cooperative effort is part of FAO's on-going drive to involve the private sector in meeting the 1996 World Food Summit goal of reducing, by at least half, the number of hungry people in the world by the year 2015.
The FAO-Parmalat agreement comes as public investment in agriculture continues to decline.
According to FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, "If we really want to reduce the number of hungry people in the world in a way that can be sustained, then it is essential that the private sector get involved. I am pleased that Parmalat is making this commitment to work with FAO, because it reflects a shared understanding of the seriousness of the problem and the need for alternative forms of international assistance to agriculture."
Mr. Calisto Tanzi, President of Parmalat, said that Parmalat "considers this cooperative agreement with FAO a very important step in the right direction. In this way, we at Parmalat are able to contribute to the people who are most in need in the world."
According to the agreement, Parmalat will sponsor FAO activities under TeleFood, an awareness-building campaign, using concerts, public events, fund-raising activities and other initiatives involving public figures and celebrities. Hunger-fighting efforts by FAO's Ambassadors will also be funded. The Ambassadors are: Nobel Prize winner in medicine Rita Levi Montalcini and actress Gina Lollobrigida from Italy, U.S. jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and South African singer Miriam Makeba.
The FAO-Parmalat agreement also foresees joint missions and activities in developing countries. The cooperative efforts will focus on transferring technology that can provide healthy and sustainable food production and processing. The joint activities will be designed to increase investment in agro-industry, combining Parmalat's technological and managerial resources with FAO technical assistance. The cooperative efforts are expected to create employment opportunities in rural areas and to generate income for disadvantaged farmers in the developing world.
Parmalat was one of several sponsors of FAO's 1999 TeleFood Concert at James Bond Beach in Jamaica last year. The concert, featuring Caribbean, Latin and African musicians, was broadcast to over 70 countries worldwide, underlining the importance FAO attaches to raising public awareness about the problem of world hunger.
For more information please contact: John Riddle, telephone number 39 06-5705 3259, or Lucia D'Aleo at 39 06-5705 2520.