World Food Day 2008

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October 16, 2008

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) first established World Food Day in 1979 in order to raise awareness about world hunger. Today, the world is in the midst of a food price crisis that is estimated to be pushing more than 100 million people into absolute poverty. Shining a spotlight on hunger has never been more important.

World Food Day 2008 will focus on the challenges that climate change and bio-energies present for world food security. The consequences that these two processes have on food security has most deeply affected people already living in hunger and poverty. Those for whom food was never in vast supply are now eating even less and lower quality food. They are foregoing medical care and pulling children, especially girls, out of school. The crisis is also causing families to sell off productive assets, compromising their ability to escape long-term poverty out of short-term desperation.

People living in hunger and poverty, who have been so devastated by food insecurity, are also best poised to generate solutions. As most of the poor are rural, they are closely connected to the land and management of natural resources on a daily basis. Rural women in particular, who were honored on yesterday's International Day of Rural Women, are the world's primary food producers and nutrition providers, with intimate knowledge of family food security. This knowledge must be harnessed. People living in hunger and poverty, both women and men, must be empowered to utilize and enhance their capacities, so they can respond to the food security issues they face. The international community, national governments, and other institutions of power and prerogative, need to listen to voices at the village level and respond accordingly.

In 13 countries, The Hunger Project works to support the developing world's rural women and men to take self-reliant actions to ensure their own food security, and to have voice in government, so that food insecurity can be made a thing of the past.