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EXPERT VIEWS-"Earth's fruits must be available for all" says pope on World Food Day

by Alex Whiting | @AlexWhi | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 16 October 2017 14:59 GMT

Pope Francis talks with Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General Jose Graziano da Silva during his visit at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, October 16, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

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"Clearly wars and climate change are a cause of hunger, let us then not present hunger as though it were some sort of incurable disease"

ROME, Oct 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - On World Food Day, religious, political and humanitarian leaders have called for more action to end hunger, which has begun to rise for the first time in more than a decade.


Deaths due to hunger or to abandoning one's land have now become everyday news, and there is the danger that this will lead to indifference.

Clearly wars and climate change are a cause of hunger, let us then not present hunger as though it were some sort of incurable disease.

Food resources are frequently exposed to speculation that aims simply to ensure the economic advantage of the major producers ... and not meeting the real needs of human beings. This ultimately leads to conflict and to waste, and increases the number of the people on earth who are seeking a future far away from their homes, their lands of origin.

We need to change direction ... the fruits of the earth must be available to all.

Reducing is easy but sharing requires a conversion - and this is much more demanding.


Someday in the future, World Food Day will be a celebration of a peaceful and well-fed world. Sadly, that day seems very far off right now. We have far too much violence and conflict, and that is why we have more people who are hungry and in need of assistance.

I call on the people in power, the people with guns, to stop the fighting now.


Hunger is basically due to climate and conflict. It's not that we don't have enough food - we have more than enough food.

Conflict is manmade, and if there is political commitment to do it, we can stop the conflicts tomorrow.

We cannot avoid the impacts of climate change ... But we can stop drought from leading to famine, to increased prices, to people being displaced from their homes because they don't have water to drink.

We only need the political commitment and the budget.

To save lives, we need to rebuild the environment in which people live, reinforcing their resilience and ensuring their livelihoods to offer them the possibility of a dignified way of life.


Enough talk is being done ... now execution is the key if we're going to address world hunger.

The world is not getting smaller, the mouths are not getting (fewer), there's more demand. If you look out by 2030 the responsibility of feeding 2 billion more people, that's going to fall on people who are in countries who are developed, who have the capacity and the innovation and the creativity to do that.

When you think about a third of our food production is wasted (in post harvest losses, and in homes and restaurants) then there should be specific tactics and strategies that we can deploy in order to reduce that.

(Reporting by Alex Whiting @Alexwhi, Editing by Ros Russell.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)

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