Monday, 16 October 2006

World Food (Every) Day

World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In 1980, the General Assembly endorsed observance of the Day in consideration of the fact that "food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity" (resolution 35/70 of 5 December 1980).

Whenever I sat for Economics tests at school, I used to love throwing in terms like “opportunity cost”, “wrong allocation of resources”; they gave me a sense of importance derived from my (supposed) knowledge of those terms and being able to come up with theories and examples to explain them.

I thought the poor of the world were stupid and lazy people who were poor by their own choice. I thought all they had to do was have less children, meaning less mouths to feed, meaning a little bit more of everything for everyone. I thought it just could not be otherwise since I was having food to throw. I thought I was pretty smart. I was plain ignorant and stupid.

Today, 80% of the natural resources of the planet are controlled and consumed by 20% of the inhabitants of the planet. If this is not disequilibrium, what is?

This disequilibrium, leading to famine and malnutrition, results, says Roger Garaudy (Grandeur et décadences de l'Islam), in the death of 40 million people including 15 million children according to the UNICEF. And its not getting any better.

“In a world overflowing with riches, it is a outrageous scandal that more than
826 million people suffer hunger and malnutrition and that every year over 36
million die of starvation and related causes. We must take urgent action
now.”(Jean Ziegler, April 2001, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food)

Its not a war of figures, with who has the correct figure or who hasn't or a matter of calculating the number of children dying every second. Its a matter of deaths from famine and malnutrition.

The theme for World Food Day and the TeleFood campaign for 2006 is "Investing in agriculture for food security" which highlights the need for increased resources to fight hunger. To whom will the seeds be given? Because, how can undernourished and hungry people be expected to be able to cultivate anything? They'll eat the seeds.

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Links: Facts, Right to Food


Margaret said...

I remember thinking the thing about the starving having less kids too, and now I think what a terrible idea it was that people in poor countries should voluntarily erradicate themselves from the planet... ignorance (and sometimes youthfulness) can be quite cruel.

ChickyBabe said...

That's what I love about your posts Fitena, they're always food for thought :).

fringes said...

Thanks for this post. Thoughtful quotes and valuable information.

Fitèna said...

Margaret, my thoughts exactly!

CB, thank you! I wish they were food to the poor too. :-(

Fringes, you're most welcome. I was thining about your comment about "fear and mistrust"or doctors while writing this. I have no idea why.


Adeline said...

i need to hear this now. I sometimes get so caught up in "spending wisely" and buying what i want and moving ahead and forward and investing and money decisions, i forget

1. count my blessings
2. my values are not to amass riches for myself, but to help other people, who really really need help.


Jaimie said...

The fact that people are still starving on this planet in inexcusable. Period.