WASHINGTON, 11 November 2002 --
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf, declared this morning that
increased agricultural production is not sufficient to combat
hunger in developing countries. Creating gainful employment
opportunities and better access to markets for agricultural
products are also needed, he said.
addressed cabinet ministers, heads of regional organizations and
experts gathered here for the two-day joint FAO - Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB) Meeting on Regional Initiatives for Food
Security and Rural Development in Latin America and the
committed themselves at the 1996 World Food Summit, to eradicate
hunger in all countries, with the immediate goal of reducing by
half the number of the hungry in the world by 2015",
Diouf said. "We are still a long way from achieving
this goal with more than 840 million people today suffering from
hunger", he said.
America and the Caribbean there are 211 million poor people - an
increase of 11 million since 1990 - with 89 million considered
very poor, 77 million of them live in rural areas, representing
64 per cent of total rural populations, of which 54 million are
extremely poor," Diouf said.
than half of the region's farmers are poor, half of them
cannot even meet their basic food needs at present levels of
income, said the head of FAO.
achieving food security is a fundamental priority. Raising the
standard of living in Latin America and the Caribbean requires
improving agricultural productivity, guaranteeing equitable
access by all to food and resolving problems affecting
accessibility to markets, according to Diouf.
The FAO Director-General indicated that the central
objective of the Meeting is to consider sub-regional
initiatives for food security and rural development in Latin
America and the Caribbean and to secure technical and financial
assistance for these initiatives.
"Agricultural trade and a system of
multilateral exchange, regulated by agreements, are essential
instruments to promote agricultural and rural development, food
security and the fight against hunger and poverty",