Brazil’s Lula: ‘We Have the Resources to End Hunger’

This is World Food Week and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization is running a campaign to make people aware of the need to protect the world’s biodiversity so as to ensure global food security.

According to Jacques Diouf, FAO director general, who is in Brazil for the launch of the campaign and meetings with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, “threatened biodiversity may compromise world food supplies.”

Estimates by FAO are that three-fourths of crop genetic diversity was lost in the last century. “That makes the food chain more vulnerable. It also stymies growth and innovation in agriculture,” explains Diouf.

The highlight of World Food Week is World Food Day on October 16, which will be commemorated in 150 countries with events to make people aware of the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world.

Diouf says that among the problems facing the world is the fact that rural families in developing countries no longer find all their food needs in local markets.

And he warns that out of 6,300 known animal races, 1,350 of them are in danger of extinction or have already disappeared.

The FAO director general praised the Brazilian government for its efforts to combat hunger through the Zero Hunger program.

He pointed out that by 2005, because of such programs, some 9.3 million families in Brazil (around 44 million people) will have risen above the hunger level.

Diouf also praised president Lula for his efforts to fight world hunger.

Lula, also speaking at Food Week celebrations, declared:

“Brazil is capable. Brazil is willing. Brazil has the resources, the technology, the land and the farmers to resolve this problem.”

He went on to announce that government assistance programs will reach 11 million needy families by the end of his first term in 2006.

Along with Diouf and Lula, minister of Social Development and Food Combat, Patrus Ananias, attended the ceremonies.

He said that FAO has announced investments of over US$ 5.6 million in food security programs between now and 2006.

He added that his ministry continues to move ahead with programs to generate income and jobs, school lunch delivery and assistance to small farmers.

Agência Brasil
Translator: Allen Bennett


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