Helping farmers to help themselves
Tomorrow, 16 October, will mark the World Food Day. It is unacceptable that tonight, across the world, close to 870 million people - more than one and a half times the population of the European Union - will go to bed hungry.
During the London Hunger Event in August, I have pledged to reduce the number of stunted children (those who haven't grown and developed enough due to a lack of access to the right sort of food) by at least 7 million by 2025. The EU is already at the forefront of the fight against hunger, as every year, we invest around €1 billion in agriculture, food and nutrition security. But my commitment is more than an emotional response to witnessing such personal tragedy; dealing with under nutrition is a first and basic precondition to creating the conditions for development and growth to take root; it is vital to equip the world's poorest with the chances to pull themselves out of poverty. I wholeheartedly support this year's focus on "Agricultural Cooperatives". Agriculture is the lifeblood of African economies– more than half a billion Africans, or some 65 per cent of the population (more than 80 per cent in some countries) depend on small or micro-scale farming as their primary source of livelihood. These farmers grow crops on small plots of land, often far away from markets, roads, assets or even electricity. Therefore they are extremely vulnerable to shocks and have difficulties in providing food for themselves and their communities.
Read the full statement here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-12-781_en.htm