United Against Global Hunger, World Gains

Oct 15, 2010, 09:01 ET from ACDI/VOCA

ACDI/VOCA Observes World Food Day

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This World Food Day, Oct. 16, the global community has good news to celebrate. Recent agricultural and economic gains have pushed the number of hungry people below 1 billion. That drop is a 9.6 percent decline since last year according to the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

ACDI/VOCA President Carl Leonard released the following statement in observance of World Food Day:

"Renewed investments in agriculture and a recent focus on smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, are helping countries meet food and nutrition needs," Leonard says. "The number of people who are hungry has declined significantly this past year — nearly 10 percent — to 925 million.

"While that's encouraging, we must remain vigilant to consolidate these gains and pursue further declines in world hunger. A spike in food prices similar to what the global community experienced two years ago could quickly undo this year's progress.

"ACDI/VOCA officials at this week's World Food Prize awards in Des Moines, Iowa, report a consensus among experts that the commitment to agricultural development and food security in developing countries, particularly in Africa, has increased. Unfortunately, there is corresponding concern that support in the United States may be waning.

"Overseas, governments, civil society and the private sector are increasingly uniting to increase agricultural productivity, build rural infrastructure, develop markets, and invest in training, capacity building and research.

"At ACDI/VOCA, we've learned that a united approach against hunger — one that integrates a range of interventions from food aid to boosting agricultural productivity and household nutrition to developing farming as a business to linking farmers to markets and enabling trade — gets results. And when you combine that with a united front against hunger — engaging local partners from communities, business and government — you get broad-based, sustainable results.

"Every day, we learn more about how to make agriculture and economic development programs work better in the communities we serve, and refine tools like ACDI/VOCA's holistic and market-driven value chain approach. We also innovate to create better financial services and foster stability and good governance. Farmers cannot grow food in war-torn countries or when credit or transportation infrastructures are lacking.

"Today, two-thirds of the world's hungry live in just seven countries — Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. By continuing to stand united against global hunger, and targeting resources on the people who need them most, we can — and must — ensure that we have good news to share again in the years ahead."