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10.11.2008 US & Canada

FAO Chief appeals to Obama…to help end hunger

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Jacques Diouf on Thursday called on United States President-elect, Barack Hussein Obama to make the eradication of world hunger a priority on his agenda.

In a congratulatory message to Senator Obama on his election, the FAO Chief said the United States should “in the first semester of 2009, take leadership role in convening a World Summit on Food Security in order to reach a wide and common consensus on the definitive elimination of hunger from the world”.

Heightened awareness of the plight of 923 million hungry persons as a result of the ongoing global food and financial crisis created a “special window of opportunity for such an initiative”, Diouf said.

“The Summit must find US$30 billion per year to build and develop rural infrastructures and increase agricultural productivity in the developing world, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries, with a view to doubling production to ensure food security for a world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050”, Diouf continued.

According to him, the Summit should lay the basis for a new agricultural trade system offering farmers in developed and developing countries alike the chance to make a decent living.

“We must use our intelligence and imagination to design policies to promote sustainable agricultural development based on fair international trade”, he added.