Swiss authorities urge more action over world hunger

The Swiss government’s aid agency Thursday sounded the alarm about world hunger, saying that despite international pledges, there were now more undernourished people than three years ago.

This content was published on November 4, 1999 - 16:58

The Swiss government’s aid agency Thursday sounded the alarm about world hunger, saying that despite international pledges, there were now more undernourished people than three years ago.

Taking stock of efforts to help those in need, the Agency for Cooperation and Development said that results are falling well short of the targets set at a summit in Rome in 1996.

The international community then agreed on an action plan to reduce the number of people without enough food by half to total about 400 million by the year 2015.

“There is no reason to be complacent since we are no longer on track with our plan,” said the head of the agency, Walter Fust.

He told a news conference in the capital Berne that poverty was still on the increase and a growing number of people were going hungry.

Insufficient food and inefficient agriculture programmes, the growing world population, natural catastrophes, wars as well as financial and economic crises were all contributing to the worsening situation, Fust said.

The director of the federal agriculture office, Hans Burger, told journalists that food production would have to be doubled in order to guarantee enough food for the next generation.

The agency took stock of Switzerland’s own contributions toward alleviating poverty and hunger – two areas which have been a priority of government aid and cooperation projects.

In Central America, for instance, about 100,000 silos have been set up with Swiss aid to store 50,000 kilogrammes of grain that might otherwise have rotted due to a lack of storage facilities, the agency said.

Aid officials said an expansion of the successful programme to other regions in the world was now being examined, as well as the transfer of agriculture and technical know-how.

The agency said that Switzerland was also pushing for anti-poverty measures at a multi-national level, such as at the United Nations and the World Bank.

From staff and wire reports.

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