Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Botswana Assistant Representative David Tibe says delegates from 193 countries who attended the September 2015 United Nations Global Development Summit (UNGPS) held in New York, US, agreed on a new Global Agenda for Sustainable Development committed towards hunger eradication by 2030.
Tibe said despite endorsement of the 2030 hunger moratorium deadline and remarkable Millennium Development Hunger-related Goals (MDHGs) achievements by 73 out of 129 countries today, over 800 million people were still suffering from hunger and, almost one billion living in penury.
Giving a key note address on the 2015 World Food Day (WFD) celebrations at Phohushadi, 30km from Jwaneng, Southern District on October 16, Tibe said: “After 70 years of action and operations, the FAO had through the majority country approved MDHGs, halved the proportion of hungry people; reduced by 17% the share of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries in 2015. This, however, was under achievement, as compared with 43 percent in 1990.”
According to the FAO Assistant Representative, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) II, aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition by promoting ‘sustainable agriculture.’
“Meeting this target would be fundamental in achieving the other sustainable development goals. This is largely because health, education and economic development cannot be improved without better food security and nutrition. Consequently, social protection is an important part of this agenda by virtue of being a crucial instrument in lifting poor communities out of poverty. The 2015 theme: “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”, could not have been more appropriate especially when land and water constraints, underinvestment in rural infrastructure and agricultural innovation; ac┬¡cess to inputs and weather disruptions, are impairing productivity growth and the needed production response in agriculture the world over.
“Given its expertise and resources, FAO is well-positioned and ready to support countries in achieving the SDGs. At least 14 out of the 17 goals are related to FAO’s work.”
In the last few years, the world has acceded to the rude awakening that demands for agricultural commodities, food, feed and fuel will continue to escalate. Climate change risks and rising energy demands will also accelerate global food prices due to several structural and cyclical factors. These rising food prices will further undermine food security and livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups by eroding their already limited purchasing power.
Nonetheless, the battle to end hunger and poverty must be fought mainly in rural areas, focusing pro-poor investments mainly on small holder farmers, rural women, fisher folk and other vulnerable and marginalized groups. Almost 80 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely mainly on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, since economic growth does not benefit everyone equally, the developing world countries are beginning to realize that social protection measures are needed to urgently address hunger and poverty. Even relatively small cash transfers to poor households can make a positive difference to their bottom line.
A good social protection programme would increase the purchasing power of the poor; minimize dependency, enhance work effort; positively impact on child and maternal welfare; and provide important infrastructure and community assets.
FAO maintains that agriculture still remains the most effective way to lift the rural populations out of poverty.