Thursday, October 15, 2009
October 16, 2009 is World Food Day, a day to reflect and act on ways to end hunger. This year, the anniversary is marked with a sad record - for the first time in history, more than 1 billion people, or one-sixth of all humanity, will go hungry. And the UN Food and Agricultural Organization predicts that the number will increase unless governments step up spending on agriculture. In 1980, 17% of aid contributed by donor countries went to agriculture. By 2006, that percentage has falled to 3.8%. There are many reasons suggested for the increase in hunger, from the global financial meltdown, competition for public and private aid funds from other sources, low food prices that discouraged investment in agriculture followed now by rapidly increasing food prices. Unfortunately, the world governments are failing their pledges adopted as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015. A renewed commitment is desperately needed.