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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General in Washington stresses importance of local food production in famine-affected countries

Graziano da Silva and WFP Executive Director David Beasley share views on hunger crises

5 June 2017, Washington DC - Peace is the most important precondition when fighting famine, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today, highlighting that local food production remains vital even during times of conflict.

Graziano da Silva stressed the need to increase and reinforcing local food production -including livestock, fisheries and agriculture- in famine-affected countries as livelihoods are particularly vulnerable during conflict. 

At an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Graziano da Silva and World Food Programme (WFP), Executive Director David Beasley shared their views on how the global community can help fight famines in the current hunger crises in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan – where a famine has been declared -  and Yemen.

Both highlighted the links between hunger and protracted conflict in the four countries, which has left 30 million people in the throes of severe food insecurity, with 20 million potentially facing starvation.

"Throughout history, food has been used as a weapon. There's a direct correlation between conflict and food insecurity,” Graziano da Silva said. “We will not have lasting peace in a food insecure country,” he said, noting that eight out of 10 people affected by conflict live in rural areas.

Discussing pressing humanitarian needs, they heads of FAO and WFP stressed that an immediate, massive response is critical, combining emergency food assistance and support for agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

Graziano da Silva underscored the need for the international community to further support the humanitarian efforts and urged for additional funding to address the crises: “We could do much more. It's very little money we're talking about to save so many lives,” he said. "If we don't have a comprehensive view of these crises, we won't be able to solve them."

"This situation is unconscionable, inexcusable, unacceptable,” WFP’s Executive Director stressed, noting that FAO and WFP are working together to minimize inefficiency and maximize effectiveness in fighting famine.  

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