FAO Director-General calls for "next big step" in hunger fight

Urges eradication of undernourishment in people's lifetimes

24 October 2012 Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today called on international food communities and all players  in the global food system to join together in eradicating  hunger from the earth "within our lifetimes".

Opening the bi-annual Terra Madre conference organized in Turin by Slow Food International, he said achieving zero hunger would, among other measures, require moving to eliminate food losses and waste.

"Around one third of all the food produced in the world is lost or wasted every year," he noted. That was enough to feed an extra 500 million people without putting additional pressure on natural resources.

"It would make no sense to change the way we produce our food if we continue to consume as we do today," he stressed.

The Director-General said it was time to take "the next big step" in the fight against malnutrition.

Zero Hunger challenge

FAO has embraced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's challenge to eradicate hunger within our lifetimes, he said.  

"I call on you to do the same," Graziano da Silva urged, adding, "Let's make this our Zero Hunger Challenge."

Meeting the challenge will mean making all food systems sustainable; enabling smallholders - and especially women - to double their productivity and income; cutting food waste; ensuring people have year-round access to nutritious food; and ending malnutrition in pregnancy and child stunting.

Graziano da Silva said that one reason food was wasted was because of "a tendency to excessive consumption in middle and high-income countries".

Great contrast

The result was that some 1.5 billion people are overweight, compared to 868 million undernourished, he continued. "The figure illustrates one of the great contrasts of our world: the unequal distribution of food, of income and of opportunities."

The Terra Madre conference, attended by delegates from some 130 countries, discusses food, agriculture, sustainable development, gastronomy, globalization, and economics. 

Slow Food International, with 100 000 members worldwide, is a non-profit organization promoting traditional, sustainable, nutritious and delicious food.

Photo: ©Eventolive
The Director General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, speaking at the inauguration of the Terra Madre conference