|Investment in agriculture urged on World Food Day
[ 2006-10-17 09:41 ]
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
October 16th is World Food Day. This day is also the anniversary of the
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The UN agency leads
international efforts to defeat world hunger. It was created in 1945.
The FAO says more than 150 countries are holding special events to observe
World Food Day. At FAO headquarters in Rome, for example, runners competed in a
five kilometer race through the city's historical area. Events in other
countries include discussions among experts, press conferences and musical
The message of this year's World Food Day is "investing in agriculture for
food security." The FAO says foreign aid for agriculture has decreased during
the past twenty years. During the early nineteen eighties, the agency reports
9,000 million dollars was provided each year. In the late 1990s, foreign aid for
agriculture had dropped to less than 5,000 million dollars a year. Yet, the
Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that more than 850 million people
around the world do not get enough food.
The U.N. agency notes that most of the world's farmers grow small amounts of
food. But, many face problems feeding themselves. The FAO says agricultural aid
could help small farmers make a profit from their crops. Farmers would also be
able to feed their families throughout the year and reinvest in their farms.
And, they could buy better seeds, equipment and chemical fertilizers to help
their crops grow.
Separately, the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 has
been awarded to economist Muhammad Yunis and his Bangladesh microfinance
organization, the Grameen Bank. The award recognizes their efforts to improve
the lives of poor people. The Grameen Bank lends small amounts of money to poor
people who are unable to get traditional loans, especially women. The money is
used for simple projects that help women support themselves.
Mr. Yunus says he plans to give his share of the 1300,000 dollar Nobel award
to good causes. He says he wants to establish an eye hospital and start a
project to produce low-cost food for the poor.
And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss.