27 September 2010


"The most recent figures concerning global hunger and malnutrition are alarming. More than one billion people are hungry. At least twice that number lacks the essential micronutrients that are needed to lead a healthy and active life. Deficiencies of iron, vitamin A, and zinc still rank among the top ten leading causes of death through disease in developing countries. One of three children born in developing countries is stunted. What makes this calamity a scandal is that it is not inevitable" said Professor Olivier De Schutter UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food recently.

The combination of high food prices and the financial crisis has pushed more people into poverty and hunger. Although international prices have come down from their record highs in 2008, they have yet to drop to their levels before the food crisis. The risk of volatility continues.

Unemployment and reduced wages, remittances and government services – by-products of the economic slump – threaten to add to the woes of the world’s poorest people, who already spend between 60 and 80 percent of their income on food.

Smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, are caught in a double bind, unable to afford the quality seeds and fertilizers needed to grow more crops to feed their families and improve their incomes.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is engaged in over 90 countries, helping to boost food production through the supply of improved seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs and technical assistance.

The FAO also sponsors World Food Day each year on Oct 16th which aims to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world. The site includes background information about the issue, resources for teachers and students and an online petition.

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