UN's Food Organization Director Visits Pontiff

Thanks Church for Efforts to Eradicate Hunger

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The director-general of the Rome-based United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) visited Benedict XVI today at the Vatican. 

Jose Graziano da Silva went on to meet with the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

A Vatican communiqué reported that the FAO president expressed appreciation for the "commitment shown by the Holy See and the Catholic Church to combating hunger and poverty, especially in Africa, and to remedying the worrying situation of world food security."

During their discussions, "it was then noted that, despite the fact that there are sufficient resources to satisfy the food requirements of the entire planet, persistent economic, social and political obstacles hinder the possibility of meeting those requirements."

They also spoke of hopes that the rural sector would "once again take a leading role in development strategies, that sustainable models of agricultural production and food consumption be promoted, and that greater equity and efficiency be guaranteed in the administration of the food system."

Caritas

Earlier this week, the Caritas-CIDSE G20 Network of Catholic agencies released a statement saying that food access must be a priority for the Group of 20 leaders when they meet June 18-19 in Mexico.

"There are 925 million people in the world without enough to eat. About 300 children die from malnutrition every hour while one in four children is stunted, and in developing countries that figure rises to one in three. Yet we produce more than enough food globally to feed everyone," the Caritas statement recalled.

"Hunger is not inevitable," Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said. "It must be tackled by fighting its structural causes, primarily by promoting sustainable agricultural development of poor countries.”

CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles added, “The Mexican G20 has a real opportunity to show leadership on the issue of food security by ensuring better regulation of markets, strengthening of local food production and creating better access to markets for small-holder farmers. The G20 also have a particular responsibility to lead the fight against global poverty, since more than half of the world's poorest people live in G20 countries.”