The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced last weekend that a total of 38 countries worldwide have already met all or part of the “Millennium Goals” for the reduction of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
The announcement was made by FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva on June 16 in a meeting in Rome.
The original hunger and malnutrition Millennium Goal 1, of halving the proportion in each country between the period from 1990-1992 and 2012-2012 was set in 1996, while the World Food Summit Goal, established in 2000, calls for halving the absolute number of hungry in each country by 2015.
Eighteen countries achieved the second, more difficult goal.
Among these 18, outstanding in Latin America are Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Peru. In the Caribbean area, the goals were met by Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The other twelve countries in this category are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
Twenty countries did not meet the second goal but did meet the Millennium Goal 1. These are Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Togo and Uruguay.
In the Rome session, the FAO adopted a new goal of the total eradication of hunger.
The FAO singled out former Cuban President Fidel Castro and current President Raul Castro for praise for their long struggle to wipe out hunger and malnutrition worldwide.
At the Rome session, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua expressed, in the name of the late President Hugo Chavez, the view of his own country and those of the Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA) that to conquer hunger, the idea of food as a commodity and not as a human right has to be jettisoned. Jaua pointed out that four ALBA countries (Cuba, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela) were among those who met the highest benchmark of hunger elimination and were thus recognized by the FAO.
Venezuela has been distributing large amounts of food to its poorer citizens through government-sponsored programs. This fact is often ignored in the international corporate press reports of scarcities of certain items and problems with inflation. Both Venezuela and Cuba have been working hard to encourage urban residents to take up farming so as to increase overall food production.