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Twin challenges of food security and climate change

Speaking on the occasion of World Food Day 2009, Mr. Trevor Sargent T.D. Ireland Minister of State for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food today emphasised that "notwithstanding our current economic difficulties, the positive aspects of Irish agriculture and food production need to be prioritised and must play their part if humanity is to sustain itself". World Food Day, held every year on the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, aims to highlight issues surrounding hunger and poverty in the developing world.

Referring to the recent report of the Irish Hunger Task Force, Minister Sargent reiterated the Irish Government's commitment to take a leadership role internationally in eliminating hunger, specifically through "increasing smallholder sustainable agricultural productivity in Africa, targeting maternal and infant under-nutrition and working to ensure that governments internationally fulfil their commitments to eradicate hunger". He also acknowledged that "Achieving Food Security in times of Crises and Climate Change", which is the theme for this years World Food Day, is also central to addressing the scourge of hunger internationally. He noted the increase in the number of chronically hungry people on the planet which now stands at over 1 Billion or one person in every six.

Given our increasingly urbanised global society, Minister Sargent stressed that "we need to consider where our food comes from and our joint responsibility to achieve food security. Even in a developed country like Ireland, it is incumbent on us to consider our own food security and, furthermore, how our natural advantages and expertise in food production can be leveraged to assist in meeting long-term increased global demand".

He went on to state that climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity and it is imperative that "ambitious, legally enforceable, long-term global provisions to protect the planet are put in place". Ireland also has to play its part in this process and, in this regard, Minister Sargent concluded by highlighting some of the important climate change elements contained in the Renewed Programme for Government ratified last weekend.

by S. C.
20 october 2009, Food & Fun > Nature