NAIROBI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) honours World Food Day (16 October) by reaffirming its commitment to work with communities, civil society, governments and the private sector and end hunger in our lifetime.
Over the last year, communities on almost every continent have felt the devastating impacts of high food prices, natural disasters, climate emergencies and conflict, which have exacerbated hunger and poverty. Fortunately, WFP and its partners have been able to provide food – and hope - to millions of those who have been most affected.
WFP faces many challenges as we work to ensure that the hungry poor receive the right food at the right time,” says WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “From the Sahel region stricken by its third drought in recent years, to unrest in the Middle East, to communities whose imported staple foods have become inaccessibly expensive, WFP delivers life-saving food assistance where it is needed most.”
In 2011, WFP reached almost 100 million people in 75 countries, including more than 11 million children who received special nutritional support and 23 million children who received school meals or take-home rations.
“Here in Somalia, WFP is working to address both immediate food needs and to build the longer-term resilience of vulnerable people, many of whom are living in rural areas,” says WFP Representative and Country Director Stefano Porretti. “Since last year, the number of communities who now have better access to vital water supplies through dams and wells built with WFP help, has more than trebled. Local roads built that enable rural communities to access markets have increased by fivefold in 2012.”
“WFP has doubled the number of nutrition programmes that help ensure the health of children and pregnant and nursing mothers, and we’ve expanded our school meals programme,” says Porretti. “This provides an incentive to get both boys and girls into the classroom while ensuring they get nutritious food. Together these initiatives give a helping hand to poor and vulnerable households so they can begin to escape the poverty trap.”
The theme of this year’s World Food Day is “Agricultural cooperatives—key to feeding the world.”WFP works with agricultural cooperatives and farmers organisations in many countries around the world, providing training to help improve crop quality, strengthen business practices and increase access to markets. In particular, WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project has worked with more than 800 farmers’ organisations, comprising more than one million smallholder farmers in 20 countries, to build capacity and maximize the impact of local food procurement.
WFP celebrates World Food Day along with its sister UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The three Rome-based agencies often work closely together to boost the production of smallholder farmers and increase people’s access to food.
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For more information please contact
Susannah Nicol, WFP Somalia, Mob. +254 733 518085, firstname.lastname@example.org
Omar Ahmed, WFP Somalia, Mob +254 731 069724, email@example.com
David Orr, WFP, Mob +254 707 722105, firstname.lastname@example.org