This morning’s ceremony featured speeches from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin, Director-General of the FAO José Graziano da Silva and Pope Benedict XVI, whose message was delivered by Archbishop Luigi Travaglino.
This years theme was agricultural cooperatives, as José Graziano da Silva explains:
This theme was chosen to highlight the many, concrete ways in which agricultural cooperatives and producer organizations help to provide food security, generate employment, and lift people out of poverty. For FAO and its partners, agricultural cooperatives are natural allies in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty.
Every day, small producers around the world continue to face constraints that keep them from reaping the benefits of their labour and contributing to food security not only for themselves but for all through active participation in markets.[…] What is needed is the establishment of an enabling environment that allows small producers to take full advantage of available opportunities. Strong cooperatives and producer organizations are an essential part of that enabling environment.”
Individually, these smallholders have little power. But when they join together, they have greater purchasing power. They have greater bargaining power in the marketplace. And they have greater power to influence the policies that affect their lives.
In a world of plenty, as long as one child dies of hunger or suffers from malnutrition, our work is not done yet. And there is nothing to celebrate.
If farmers know there’s a market, if they receive training, they will produce more food with higher nutritional value