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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block, AgWeb.com

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

World Food Day

Oct 16, 2009

This Friday, October 16 was “World Food Day.” Thirty years ago (1979), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN issued the proclamation to heighten public awareness of the world problem of hunger and malnutrition.
 
The problem is real. One billion people, one in six, in the world today don’t get enough food to be healthy. Each year, 11 million children die before reaching the age of 5. A hungry mind cannot concentrate. Hungry bodies don’t have the energy to work.
 
We all know that you can’t fix a problem unless you know what causes the problem. Natural disasters such as floods, draughts, tsunamis, and wars all contribute to hunger. There is war in the Eastern Congo now with nearly a million killed and 900,000 displaced. The misery in Zimbabwe was forced upon a nation that had been a food exporter until President Mugabe confiscated the farms and gave them to his friends and the landless poor. Not a surprise, they don’t know how to run a farm.
 
We are not going to be able to put an end to natural disasters or even nation conflicts, but there are 2 things we can do.
 
We can deliver food to the needy when disaster strikes. We do that now through the World Food Program. I serve on the Board of the Friends of the World Food Program. The World Food Program does a terrific job.
 
The other thing that must be done or we will never make any progress in combating world hunger is to help the poor backward countries improve their agricultural production.
 
I have been there, in Africa, several times. Their little tiny garden-type farms hardly produce enough to feed the family that tends their crop. One farm in the U.S. produces enough food for 150 people. Their farms desperately need the best science and technology that has made ours great. In most cases, they don’t have hybrid seeds, they don’t use commercial fertilizer. They don’t control weeds and pests with chemicals. They need genetically engineered seeds.
 
Commercial science-based agriculture has been under assault recently by some high-profile elites in the country that pretend to know something. They don’t know anything, and don’t seem to have much compassion for the world’s hungry.
 
World Food Day reminds us that if you “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
 
Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.
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COMMENTS (3 Comments)

Anonymous
Kind of off the subject but why do we have a farm program that gives 200 bushel corn areas subsidies. A lot of cron belt farmers say themselves they want to be left alone by government handouts. They double up on ldp payments over a lot of other areas and their direct payments are also double what most get per acre. Also they live in areas where basis is and always is considerably less than other areas. This has been happening for so so many years it should be declared unconstitutional.
10:23 PM Oct 26th
 
Anonymous
Dont fool yourself its the same way in this country. Whether its hogs, milk, grains, farmers are asked to go out and produce a crop without showing a profit. But I understand your point. You might say farmers are part of the surfdom in this country also. Thanks to our over production which drives out prices below cost of production than we feed poor countries, in the meantime our farmers go out of business. We have to closely watch that our prices in the grocery store match the farmers prices when prices are low, this is very very important because if the prices followed farmers pork right now would almost be a giveaway food source in the grocery store and supply would be taken care of. But when price doesnt go down accordingly in grocery store it doesnt take care of overproduction quickly enough. Just some true thoughts.
8:56 PM Oct 24th
 

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