The Minister of Agriculture Dr. Mogana S. Flomo, Jr., has called on Liberians and international partners to work together, to ensure that everyone gets involved in agriculture, if Liberia and the world will attain zero hunger by 2030.
Minister Flomo said nobody can learn well in the presence of hunger, which has the propensity to damage the educational system of the country and the health sector.
“We know hunger and when you are hungry you can’t be strong to learn even if the best teacher is teaching you, and you lack strength as well. This can stop if everyone sees agriculture as the only way to end hunger in Liberia,” he stated.
Minister Flomo made these statements on Thursday, November 15, at the celebration of World Food Day (WFP) in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, under the theme, “A Zero Hunger World by 2030, is it possible?” It was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
He continued: “We all need to collaborate and find different ways of ending hunger in Liberia, because the common people’s lives will change if they can afford to eat every day.”
Dr. Flomo further said the government has recently provided US$1.9 million to be used for rice production.
He noted that the government has also seen the need to produce more food in Liberia and that it needs to continue from all sectors of the country.
“If Liberia won’t achieve any other goal, let us achieve the goal of ending hunger by 2030. This can only be done when we all get serious about ending hunger in Liberia, “ he said.
Ms. Mariatou Njie, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative to Liberia, who read a statement on behalf of Dr. Jose Grazino da Silva, Director-General of FAO, reiterated the organization’s commitment to support Liberia in implementing measures geared towards increasing food production and thus eliminate hunger in the country.
In this regard, Ms. Njie said, FAO Liberia, in partnership with the government, has been contributing immensely in providing support to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number two in the country.
“With this in mind, FAO is keen in providing stronger support to invest in youth development and empowerment programs in the sector. In fact, governments have the most fundamental role in achieving Zero Hunger by ensuring that vulnerable people have sufficient income to buy the food they need, or the means to produce it for themselves, even in times of conflict,” she said.
However, she said, world leaders have to bear in mind that the concept of Zero Hunger is broader and not limited to the fight against undernourishment. It aims to provide people with the necessary nutrients for a healthy life.
She added that world leaders define the eradication of hunger and all forms of malnutrition as SDG2 and this is the cardinal objective of the Agenda.
Ms. Njie said the latest estimates have revealed that the number of undernourished people in the world increased in 2017 for the third consecutive year.
“Last year, 821 million people suffered from hunger – 11 percent of the world population – one in nine people on the planet.
“However, the growing rate of undernourished people is not the only big challenge we are facing. Other forms of malnutrition have also increased.
“As a matter of fact,” she said “we are witnessing the globalization of obesity. For example, obesity rates are climbing faster in Africa than any other region – eight of the 20 countries in the world with the fastest rising rates of adult obesity are in Africa.”
Furthermore, she said childhood overweight affected 38 million children under five years of age in 2017, and about 46 percent of these children live in Asia, while 25 percent live in Africa.”
“The growing rate of obesity is happening at a huge socio-economic cost. Obesity is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. Estimates indicate that the global economic impact of obesity is about US$2 trillion per year (2.8 percent of the global GDP),” Ms. Njie noted.