For every 8 people in the world, one person goes to bed hungry. However, it is not about statistics but about giving importance to every individual to ensure that no one in the world is hungry and achieve the “Zero Hunger Challenge”.
Experts at the Asia-Pacific Consultation on “Family Farming” called for speedy launch of National Action Plans by countries in the region to rid the world of hunger, while issuing the “Chennai Declaration” of the Conference. The “Asia-Pacific Consultation on Achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge” at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, in Chennai from August 7 – 10, brought together the largest gathering of ministerial delegates, diplomats and academicians from across the world, in recent times.
Farmer, Vijay Jawandhia from Vidharbha in Maharashtra, lamented the growing disparity between the levels of income of other segments of the population and farmers. If this disparity increases, it will be impossible for farmers to continue to produce food. “Every human being must get a right to live as a human being, including farmers.”
Dr H Konuma, Regional Representative, FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization), Asia-Pacific Region, appealed to countries in the region for their commitment. “Timor Leste has formulated the Zero Hunger Action Plan. India, Nepal, Vietnam and Myanmar have given their written commitment towards formulating the Action Plan and we hope the other countries will also work towards it. It is not about percentages any more but about the number of people in the 12% of Asia Pacific Region who are most vulnerable,” said Dr Konuma.
Chairperson, MSSRF Dr Madhura Swaminathan reiterated this saying, “Individual well-being needs to be the focus.”
In his concluding remarks, Professor M S Swaminathan referred to the 5C approach in the Chennai Declaration. “Conservation, cultivation, consumption, commerce and communication in addition to the right combination of political will, determination and professional skill would help us further on the pathway towards the Zero Hunger Challenge. In addition, the family farmers should have technological, social and political empowerment.”
The Chennai Declaration will be finalized in consultation with the partners of the conference Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, World Food Programme (WFP), Department for International Developmen
t (DFID) UK, UN Women, Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium other national and international agencies. This would then be taken forward by the various agencies and Governments for national policy level recommendations.