|Investment in agriculture urged on World Food Day
[ 2006-12-13 09:14 ]
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
October 16 is World Food Day. This day is also the anniversary of the
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The U.N. agency leads
international efforts to defeat world hunger. It was created in 1945.
The F.A.O. says more than 150 countries are holding special events to
observe World Food Day. At F.A.O. 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 F.A.O. says foreign aid for agriculture has decreased during
the past twenty years. During the early 1980s, the agency reports 9,000 illion
dollars was provided each year. In the late 1990s, foreign aid for agriculture
had dropped to less than five thousand 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 F.A.O. 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 1,300,000 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.