Guido Barilla, the chairman of Italian food giant Barilla, has said that access to healthy food is a universal right.
Barilla, who is also president of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) foundation, highlighted the challenges the world faces in trying to feed a rising global population in a sustainable way while adjusting to the effects of climate change.
“Everyone has the right to be free from hunger and have access to a sufficient quantity of food that is both safe and health,” Guido Barilla said. Barilla was speaking with less than a year to go to the start of Milan Expo 2015 and the launch of the Milan protocol, an initiative spearheaded by the BCFN that aims to help the fights against hunger and obesity, see global food waste cut by half in 2020 and promote sustainable agriculture and food education.
“As we have sought to meet the demand for food, drinking water, fuel and material, we have influenced the ecosystems in a irreversible way, putting them under too much stress, and today we are paying the price,” said Barilla. “Climate change, people’s health and the earth’s capacity to generate raw materials and water in sufficient quantities depend closely on the management of our food systems”. Barilla’s comments came after the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report on Tuesday that 805 million people in the world, or one in nine, suffer from hunger.
But the annual report on food insecurity, published with the FAO’s sister Rome-based food agencies, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), added that the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of hungry people in the world by 2015 was “within reach”.
The report said the number of hungry people worldwide has declined by more than 100 million over the last decade and by more than 200 million since 1990-92.
The trend in hunger reduction in developing countries means that the MDG of halving the proportion of undernourished people by 2015 is within reach, “if appropriate and immediate efforts are stepped up,” the report said. Up to now 63 developing countries have reached the MDG target and six more are on track to reach it by 2015.
The goals of the Milan Protocol and the issues it raises will be at the centre of debate at the sixth international forum on food and nutrition in Italy’s business capital December 3-4.
This will help put the subject on the agenda ahead of Milan Expo 2015, which kicks off on May 1 under the theme ‘Feeding the planet. Energy for life’. “The real scandal of today is that people die of hunger,” said Carlo Petrini, the founder and president of the Slow Food Movement that is backing the Milan Protocol.
“It’s necessary to take decisions to end this tragedy. It is necessary to rebuild the subsistence economy so that it is based on happiness, the right of everyone to food and respect of the environment.
“It’s necessary to defend biodiversity, promote the culture of farm traditions, and encourage and support low-environmental impact agriculture”.