On World Food Day, the humanitarian and development organisation of the Catholic Church, Caritas Internationalis says the world has the resources to end hunger by 2025. Caritas says that there can be no excuses that 805 million don’t have enough to eat.
“To have food is a right for everyone,” said Martina Liebsch, director of advocacy for Caritas Internationalis. “Family farmers are fundamental in providing this food. They need our support to be able feed their families and sell healthy and nutritious food on markets. We have to value farming as an ancient and honourable profession.”
For decades Caritas has been working with families and farmers all over the world, helping them feed themselves. Caritas programmes improve irrigation, help farmers save native seed varieties, teach organic agriculture techniques, run food pantries, help small-scale entrepreneurs to organize collectively and improve nutrition for mothers and children.
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Caritas advocacy teams also approach governments to change legal systems and policies that keep people hungry. Among several requests, Caritas asks that governments:
- Provide support to small-scale farmers and fishers to ensure they can earn sufficient income
- Eliminate market conditions that prevent small-scale farmers from selling their crops at a fair price
- Ensure that women farmers can own and use land
- Adopt rules that prevent corporations and price speculation from hurting poor farmers
- Fight childhood malnutrition
World Food Day falls during the “Week of Action” for Caritas’ 18-month “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign. From 12 to 19 October, Caritas supporters around the globe are taking initiatives to fight hunger in their countries and abroad. Some “Week of Action” activities by Caritas members include:
- Gardening at orphanages in Lesotho
- No food waste cafeteria in Korea
- Shared meals with street children in Djibouti
- Farmers’ meetings in India
- Right to Food workshops in Central America
- Local foods advocacy in Canada
- Solidarity meals in France
- Caritas Tonga and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand launched a report reinforcing traditional farming systems
- Cooking competitions in Peru and Pakistan using local foods and featuring participants of Caritas’ food security programmes
With support from Pope Francis, the “Food for All” campaign will continue until May 2015, uniting efforts to end what the pope has called the “scandal” of hunger.