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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Graziano da Silva highlights the value of food diversity as part of the solution to hunger

FAO to join UNAOC’s Group of Friends, enhancing food as part of culture

FAO Director-General with UNAOC’s High Representative

29 August 2014, Denpasar (Bali), Indonesia - Stimulating food diversity is not just about recognizing the value of food as part of a national culture, but it is also a means of enhancing the production of local food as a part of the solution to world hunger.

In this context, FAO is set to formalize next month its membership of the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The Alliance seeks to improve understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, while helping to counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism.

In a meeting with UNAOC’s High Representative, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva emphasized the importance of promoting food diversity in the context of the Alliance’s work.

 “We are losing the diversity of food. Most of what we eat nowadays is concentrated in the five largest commodities. We need to recover traditional products as they can contribute to enhance food security,” the FAO Director-General said.

Food and the culture of waste

In some regions, the serving of large portions of food at meals to the extent that the quantity exceeds what is necessary from a nutritional point of view, remains a cultural aspect. As such, the culture of food waste is one important issue that FAO can tackle within the context of UNAOC’s work.

“Food waste is one of the main issues being dealt with by FAO, since nowadays the world produces enough food to feed all. There are certainly problems relating to the loss of food through inadequate storage and transportation, but without doubt, we also have to tackle this culture of waste,” Graziano da Silva.

In this regard, the FAO Director-General suggested working with UNAOC and the Vatican to coordinate efforts aimed at addressing those issues of food waste and nutrition which have a cultural dimension. Pope Francis, who will participate in the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), to be held in November in Rome, is a strong advocate of the need to curb food waste.

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