Hunger and poverty trigger most of the conflicts, says FAO official

Ongoing conflicts is Africa and West Asia could be seen as closest examples

By Vani Manocha
Published: Tuesday 02 September 2014

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Warning the world against the dangers of hunger and poverty, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, on Friday, said “hunger leads to conflict and conflict exacerbates hunger.”

In his statement, the official from the United Nations (UN) food agency also noted how hunger and poverty are at the root of many conflicts and political fallouts that have produced more crises in the world than natural disasters. To establish his point of view, the official cited the example of how the steep increase in food prices in 2008 sparked riots in many countries across the world over rice, bread, or disputes over access to land and water and how such social conflict led to the fall of several governments.

Africa and West Asia are living examples

The ongoing civil conflict in South Sudan that has caused acute malnutrition to thousands of children living there and a similar crisis in West Africa’s Mali are a few cases that explain the gravity of FAO official’s statement.

“At least 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict with more than 1 million people driven from their homes, preventing them from tending their small, subsistence farms, which dominate agriculture in one of the world's poorest nations,” says a recent Reuters report.

The conflicts in Iraq and Gaza are other examples of how rifts can leave millions without food and water.

Collaboration: the only solution

The official also made it clear that providing food security and combating poverty requires dialogue between different cultures, faiths and races in accordance with the principles that have been set by concerned UN agencies. “Diversity is central to the way FAO as an organization with 194 member states works in providing technical expertise in fisheries, agriculture, forestry and nutrition,” the Director-General noted.

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