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New FAO Director-General da Silva intends to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015

New FAO Director-General da Silva intends to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015

This goal had already been presented by his predecessor, Jacques Diouf, in1996 but had not been achieved within the last 16 years. According to estimations, 1 billion people out of a world population of 7 billion suffer from undernourishment. However, da Silva is trying to spread confidence. Actions to fight hunger would always need to be adapted to the individual locations and local experiences. For his work he wants to put Africa, especially the countries north of the Sahara, at the center. Success would depend on whether the fight against hunger is made a national government's top priority, and whether concrete actions follow the priority setting. The FAO could then assist in acquiring countries or private donors, which is often not possible for individual governments.

At his first press conference, da Silva also announced that the FAO will merge their current strategies for disaster relief and long-term development of the food situation. Previously, the work of the Rome-based UN agency lacked the necessary decentralization. Moreover, he stated that the FAO as a single organization and with its limited budget is not able to combat malnutrition on the world without support of national and local governments, churches or trade unions, and also the people concerned. "The experience in Latin America shows that it is much cheaper to fight hunger disease, or later than the lack of education of children who are learning in school because of hunger nothing," declared da Silva. The international community can help with a change in the production and consumption systems.

Especially the issue of the amount of foods that spoils on long-distance transports due to insufficient local storage facilities and the amount of food thrown away by consumers was pointed out by da Silva. Another problem for international agriculture will remain the volatility of food prices. Food prices are expected to fall, but not to the level of the past.

Da Silva concluded by stressing that even though the world economy is developing more slowly presently, it is not automatically said that the number of hungry will grow by leaps and bounds.



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