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Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA), in Jamaica, Dr. Dustan Campbell, says there are substantial and sustained efforts underway to reduce the number of hungry people in the world by half, to no more than 420 million by 2015.
“There are encouraging signals of a shift in policy. The Joint Statement on Global Food Security at the L’Aquila meeting of the G8 in July this year, approved a radical change in strategy, with the priority of increasing the production of smallholder farmers in food-deficient developing countries. For this reason, the mobilisation of US$ 20 billion over three years is foreseen for the financing of such a programme,” he said.
Dr. Campbell was delivering the FAO’s message at the World Food Day ceremony, held at the Garvey Maceo High School, in Clarendon, on October 16.
“It is a step encouraging the international donor community to devote an increased percentage of official development assistance to agriculture, and hopefully to reach the 1980 level of 17 per cent. It is important to recall that this was the level of investment which saved Asia and Latin America from looming famine in the 1970s. A similar level of resources is now needed to feed the more than one billion people suffering from hunger and to ensure that the world’s population, set to grow by more than nine billion in 2050, will have enough to eat then,” he said.
Dr. Campbell stressed that careful attention is needed in how aid is channelled, and how to make it reach smallholder farmers effectively, as well as reform of the world food security governance system for more coherence in the action of Governments and development partners, and the share of national budgets dedicated to agriculture and private investment.
“Only a healthy agricultural sector, combined with a growing non-farm economy and effective safety nets and social protection programmes will be sufficient to face the global recession as well as eradicate food insecurity and poverty. The World Summit on Food Security, to be held in Rome Italy from November 16 to 18, aims to keep the challenge of food insecurity on top of the international agenda, so that the right to food, the most basic of human rights, be respected,” he emphasised.

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