In 2014, 46.7 million Americans lived in poverty and 48.1 million lived in food-insecure households. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that there are 805 million hungry people in the world. Over 70 percent of food insecure people live in rural areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East with many of them being family farmers.
Everyone is needed to help end food insecurity. Today, organizations, academics and many others across the United States and Canada are celebrating World Food Day by devising efforts to end global hunger. Established in 1979 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Food Day brings together organizations from around the world to mobilize advocacy campaigns and events to strengthen the political will to end world hunger.
The official celebration of World Food Day this year at Expo Milano 2015 is promising to be one of the World Exposition’s biggest events. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of FAO will be joined by the President of the Republic of Italy and the Italian Ministers for Agriculture and Foreign Affairs for the opening ceremony…
The official ceremony will commemorate FAO’s 70th Anniversary and address the theme for World Food Day 2015, “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”, and how this links with the UN theme for Expo 2015, “The Zero Hunger Challenge · United for a sustainable world”. Representatives of FAO member countries, Expo country commissioners, representatives of the Italian Government and other partners have been invited to this high-level event.
In the efforts to join advocacy around World Food Day, BIO is reminding those how agricultural biotechnology is a key element in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, especially in developing nations:
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Academies of Science, American Medical Association and the World Health Organization – among hundreds of other science and health authorities – have agreed that foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are no more risky than the same conventional and organic foods.
- Next, biotechnology products in the United States are regulated more strictly than any other agricultural or food product in history and cannot be approved until they have been proven to be safe for human consumption and safe for the environment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- GMOs keep food affordable because they require less water, land, and fewer chemical applications than conventional crops, and they are better able to survive drought, weeds, and insects. With larger, more reliable harvests, studies show that certain food products (corn, soybeans, and derivatives) would cost 6 to 10 percent higher if biotechnology was not available.
- Globally, farmers choosing to grow GMOs have seen net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $18.8 billion in 2012 and $116.6 billion between 1996 and 2012.5 Of the total farm income benefit, 60 percent has been due to yield gains, with the balance arising from reductions in production costs, such as money saved on fuel and crop production.
- Farmers in the developing world, just like those in the U.S., adopt GMO seeds. In 2013, the crops produced by these seeds are being grown in 27 countries (19 of which are developing countries) by more than 18 million farmers.6 For farmers in developing countries, efficiencies associated with biotechnology increase farm incomes and free up time to pursue education or hold other jobs – a benefit particularly significant for women farmers in Africa.
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