World Food Day 2006 targets public and private investment
Investment in agriculture critical to halve hunger by 2015
16 October 2006, Rome – “Recently there has been a significant revival in lending for agriculture. Debt forgiveness programmes, strengthened by the G8 decision in 2005, have begun to release national resources for investment in agriculture. But much still remains to be done,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf today.
Dr. Diouf was addressing the annual World Food Day ceremony which marks the founding of FAO in 1945 and is observed in over 150 countries.
“The theme for World Food Day this year is investing in agriculture for food security so that the whole world will profit,” said Dr. Diouf.
The FAO Director-General said that “in 2002, FAO estimated that the combined extra public cost of all investment to meet the 2015 World Food Summit target is around US$19 billion for agricultural growth and productivity enhancement in rural areas and US$5 billion for programmes which provide direct and immediate access to food for those in greatest need.”
“Increasing the volume of public investment in agriculture but also making it more effective are of absolute necessity. One major mechanism is the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, a consortium of 26 development agencies, which seeks to improve donor aid effectiveness and focus action on achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” stated Dr. Diouf.
In a message from Pope Benedict XVI, read by Monsignor Renato Volante Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO, the Pope said that “Investment in the agricultural sector has to allow the family to assume its proper place and function"; "local communities also need to be involved in choices and decisions concerning land use, since farmland is being diverted increasingly to other purposes, often with damaging effects on the environment.”
“Despite the progress achieved in agriculture and rural development, more than 850 million people still remain hungry with few opportunities for work and increased income. Our greatest challenge today is to reach the objectives of the World Food Summit and first UN Millennium Development Goal, to halve by 2015 hunger and alleviate poverty worldwide,” said the FAO Director-General.
World Food Day events
Today’s ceremony marks the 26th annual World Food Day observance by FAO and by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. During the ceremony, the pianist and composer from Cuba Chucho Valdés was nominated FAO Goodwill Ambassador and both he and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Oumou Sangaré, singer from Mali, rendered musical performances to honour World Food Day.
Other events at FAO headquarters in observance of World Food Day are:
• Launch of a new young people’s education initiative on the Right to Food;
• Roundtable discussion with the participation of charitable and other private sector organizations around the World Food Day theme of Investing in agriculture for food security;
• Signing ceremony between FAO, the International Agricultural Research Centres and the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Learning Centre to bring the world’s most important gene banks under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;
• Unveiling of a sculpture donated to the Organization by FAO Goodwill Ambassador, and this year’s patron of the first 5 km Run for Food involving thousands of participants, Ms Gina Lollobrigida.
Proceeds from events organized around World Food Day go to support FAO’s TeleFood programme to fund small income-generating projects that help very poor farmers to produce more food for their families and communities. To date TeleFood has raised over $18 million providing support to over 2 200 projects in 132 countries.
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