Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, has welcomed World Food Day as an opportunity to focus attention on the plight of the millions of people, many in our own region, who go hungry every day.
"Recent reports indicate that about 840 million people around the globe are going hungry and one in four children are stunted," Senator Mason said.
"Foreign aid today, to borrow from an old saying, is no longer about giving someone a fish, but about teaching them how to fish," he said. "Australia is helping to fight hunger, improve nutrition and increase food production by working with communities to make farmland more productive, create better markets, and improve the health of mothers and babies," he said.
"Better food means better health, which in turn makes for more productive individuals and communities."
"Australia's expertise in farming and food technology is world-renowned. Our agricultural experts are using the hard-won know-how that over the past two centuries has turned our arid and often inhospitable continent into a food basket of the world to help our neighbours in the region to grow more and better food in equally challenging conditions," Senator Mason said.
Australia's contributions to wider global efforts have helped to advance the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of hungry people in the world by 2015. Since 1990-92, the total number of people going hungry in developing countries has fallen by 17 per cent.
Senator Mason said some of Australia's Indo-Pacific neighbours were grappling with a complex situation in which many children were undernourished while obesity rates were increasing.
"World Food Day puts a spotlight on this challenge," he said.
World Food Day is a United Nations event held on October 16 each year to draw attention to the plight of people around the world who go hungry every day. This year's theme, 'Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition', recognises the critical role that food and agriculture play in addressing the economic and social costs of malnutrition.
- Departmental Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555