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Soil: one key actor of World Food Day 2017

Forced migration that has plagued the world for the past years shows no sign of relenting. A new art installation featuring soils appears in FAO today and adds another dimension to the far reach of the issue of migration.


The artist installed a layer of soil across the floor of the FAO Atrium - a tower of soil-filled luggage on top of this thin soil layer. Stacked together, the suitcases represent the hardships the migrants have to go through on their way to safety and the accompanying feeling of displacement. Without healthy soils, people can’t produce food and are forced to migrate. The motto chosen for this year’s World Food Day theme, ‘Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development’, highlights the issue of migration and FAO’s work in supporting communities affected by natural disasters and conflict and in building the resilience of displaced and host communities.

More than 10 million people have abandoned their homelands due to environmental issues including drought, soil erosion, desertification and deforestation and still 815 million people suffer hunger and malnutrition worldwide. Seventy-two years after FAO’s establishment, today on October 16 2017, Pope Francis joined the Heads of the Rome-based Agencies, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo, WFP Executive Director David Beasley, several G7 agriculture ministers - Lawrence MacAulay (Canada), Stéphane Travert (France), Maurizio Martina (Italy), Sonny Perdue (United States) - and European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to celebrate World Food Day (WFD) 2017 (webcast live) and testify to the importance of the link between food security, rural development and migration on the political agenda.