Each year, we spend $1348 billion on arms, while famine destroys the life of more than a billion people.
That’s a fact Jacques Diouf of the United Nations wants the people to think about and change. He’s asking for $44 billion to free the world from hunger. The French government and the French Football Federation (FFF) are getting involved. Before a match with Austria, the FFF presented the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation with a cheque for 10,000 euros. Mr Diouf met with euronews in Paris. Dulce Dias, euronews: Mr Jacques Diouf, thank you for joining us. Jacques Diouf: Thank you for inviting me. euronews: Research shows that our planet is able to feed 6 billion humans, so why is there hunger in the world? Diouf: There’s hunger in the world because we don’t invest enough in agriculture in poor countries, where there is now sadly a billion people starving. euronews: These poor countries are mostly in Africa, the most fertile continent in the world.. Diouf: It’s correct to say that the resources are there. First, there is water. Africa uses just 4% of its water reserves. Today, only 7% of arable land is irrigated, which means 93% of farmland on this continent depends on rain. If it doesn’t rain, if it rains too much or too late, there isn’t a good yield. euronews: It’s predicted that by 2050, we will be 9 billion on the earth, instead of the 6 billion we are now, which will intensify famine. How can we solve this? With, for example, genetically modified crops which need less water? Diouf: Lets begin with using the water that we have. And investing in enabling farmers to have metal silos and storage areas, because in some farming it’s paradoxical – during the production process, 40 to 60% is lost because of a lack of means to conserve the produce. Investment is also needed in rural roads. How can we bring the modern world in, seed fertiliser, livestock feed, vaccines, when there aren’t the roads? How can farming produce get to markets, if there aren’t roads? Those are the most important questions before debating GM foods. euronews: Who should be investing in this infrastructure? Diouf: Firstly, the responsibility lies with the people and their governments. So, that’s a question of resource allocations of the national budget of each country which has a food deficit. But it’s also the responsibility of the developed countries. Development aid is unfortunately allocated to things other than agriculture. euronews With the need for water, and with climate change forecast to bring drought, will Europe and the Western World be facing a mass arrival of starving immigrants? Diouf: It’s certain that when there aren’t the minimal conditions to survive at home, the human essentials,.. beyond breathing and drinking, that’s eating, naturally these people will come to Europe. During the potato crisis, the Irish fled to the U.S. During the famine in Italy, Italians rushed to Argentina and to other parts of Europe, etc. euronews: At the moment, people are talking about climate change. What do we need to get people talking as much about hunger? Diouf: We’re counting on the media. First of all, it’s a question of public awareness, not the lack of resources. In OECD countries, they spend $365 billion each year supporting agriculture, in countries where farming is less than 2 to 4% of the population. In the Third World, the rural population is between 60 and 80%. So we need how much to help the development? $44 billion a year. We spend $1340 billion buying weapons. We can’t spend $44 billion on life? The problem is ethics, morals, politics. We’re hoping there will be a great realisation. Sadly, because there are clashes in 22 countries and deaths and that we know that the food problem is a question of solidarity between humans which is also a problem for peace and world security. euronews: You’ve just received a cheque from the French Football Federation, for 10 000 euros. Is it a drop in the ocean of need? Diouf: It is a drop financially, but it’s a great step in consciousness. This amount is important because it is the sports world showing they are interested in world hunger. They are using the importance of sport, which is watched by the entire world, to make people aware of the fact that you can’t be sporty when you are hungry. euronews: Thank you very much. Diouf: Thank you.