2014-10-17 15:33:00

Pope Francis on World Food Day: the hungry are people and not numbers

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis says in order to defeat global hunger we need to change our development policies and the global trade rules and end speculation in the name of the “god of profit”.  His comments came in a message sent to Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, marking World Food Day on October 16th. 

Quoting from his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope denounced in his message "the huge amount of food wasted" in our world and the speculation on food prices in the name of "the god of profit."  He said it must be borne in mind that those suffering from hunger and malnutrition “are people and not numbers” and their human dignity comes before any economic calculation. 

Noting that this year’s theme for World Food Day is Family Farming, Pope Francis said this was very appropriate and called for more recognition and support for the vital role of the rural family.  He lamented that initiatives to promote the family, both at a local, national and international level, “fall far short of its real needs” and said this is a lack that must be addressed.

When it comes to the issue of food security, the Pope noted that this problem primarily affects the most vulnerable segment of the world's population, people who are often the victims of violent conflicts.  Our love and solidarity for our fellow human beings, he continued, should also prompt us to protect creation on which not just the abstract future of our planet depends but also the life of the human family to whom it is entrusted. 

Pope Francis said in order to defeat hunger it’s not enough to provide aid or assistance to those living in a state of emergency.   Instead, he said, we need to change "the paradigm of aid and development policies" and change the international rules governing the production and trade of agricultural goods. 

For how long, he asked, will we continue to support production and consumption methods “that exclude most of the world’s population from even the crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich?”  The Pope said we need to change our way of looking at work, its objectives and economic activity, food production and the protection of the environment. This, he said, “is perhaps the only possible way of building an authentic future of peace that nowadays is threatened, among other things, by food insecurity.” 

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