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Food for thought

October 16, 2008
World Food Day

World Food Day

It’s World Food Day today, 16 October, a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year-around action to alleviate hunger. The connection between hunger and poverty is the theme of World Food Day. Understanding and awareness are raised today.

The World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In 1980, the General Assembly endorsed observance of the Day in consideration of the fact that “food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity” (resolution 35/70 of 5 December 1980).

There are 923 million undernourished people in the world said the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. The FAO estimates that 75 million of the world hungry are a direct result of high food prices.

Cyclone victims reaching for food

Cyclone victims reaching for food

In a sombre new warning, the World Bank says that the poorest people worldwide have been pushed to the brink of survival, and the collapse of global financial confidence has made matters worst.
The World Bank’s president, Robert Zoellick said: “The financial crisis will only make it more difficult for developing countries to protect their most vulnerable people from the impact of rising food and fuel costs”.

In 2008, the world first woke up to the challenges of feeding a population that will grow from 6 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Food security has been high on the agenda for world meetings.

This BBC report says that food prices have gone up steadily, spurred by oil price rises that were the most rapid since the early 1970s, knocking on to higher transport costs and fertiliser prices for food producers. Food prices, the report say, were in part pushed up by the increasing wealth in Asia.

His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei just talked about the growing world problem of food insecurity which is a very important statement that Bruneians need to take very seriously.

Quoting from The Brunei Times of today, it says that Brunei is currently only capable of producing 3.21 per cent (or 1,084 tonnes) of its rice needs when countries that are already producing 70 percent are working very hard to produce 100 percent.

I don’t think that Bruneians will forever enjoy all the subsidies that the Government is providing at the moment. So what will happen to the food we eat? Here today, gone tomorrow? What will happen to our future generation?

Perhaps this interesting piece of information, though bit out-dated, can open up our eyes. The FAO in its country report on undernourishment has this to say about Brunei: 

Brunei Darussalam has a very low level of undernourishment; 4 percent of the population is undernourished. Both the proportion and the number of undernourished people have increased from 1990-92, benchmark period of the World Food Summit, WFS and Millennium Development, MD, to 2002-04, the latest period available. The decreasing trend in proportion and number of undernourished observed during the first half ofthe period reversed in recent years.


Hunger map. Four percent of Brunei's population are under-nourished said the FAO.

Hunger map. Four percent of Brunei's population are under-nourished said the FAO.

The report says that the food supply in Brunei has not improved since the 1990’s and the that the prevalence of undernourishment in Brunei Darussalam is lower than in Southeast Asia and Asia and the Pacific. Yes, we do have the under-nourished and poverty in Brunei. I don’t know if we are really lucky because our population is small so the rates are always very small or low compared to other countries but then again we must start to do something now for our own survival.

Now all this talk about food is making me hungry but those millions who are hungry elsewhere in the world will always be in my mind. 

End world poverty by 2015. We are actually the generation that can end the poverty.

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