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15.10.2003 General News

FAO official calls for political will to end hunger

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Accra, Oct. 15, GNA - The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for support and strong political will from governments and other stakeholders to turn "verbal commitments" to fight hunger into practical programmes.

Dr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Organisation, in a statement released in Accra on Wednesday to mark this year's World Food Day, which falls on October 16, said 840 million people with over of 800 of them in developing countries still suffered from chronic hunger.

"This leaves us much too far from the World Food Summit goal set in 1996, to cut by half the number of hungry people by 2015," he said. The theme for this year's celebration is: "International Alliance Against Hunger." It is based on a global initiative to involve a network of groups in the fight against hunger.

The alliance is expected to provide a forum for advocacy that would promote joint actions and partnerships to offer assistance, whether training or policy advice to help in developing hunger reduction strategies.

The FAO estimates that halving the number of hungry people in the world would yield economic benefits totalling 120 billion dollars a year in addition to lessening child mortality, improving maternal health and reducing the risk of infectious diseases.

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