Sunday, 15 November 2009

Brazil's President lays out his "Zero Hunger" programme. Ahmadiejad's wife makes rare appearance in Rome

Brazilian President Lula da Silva chairs an Africa-Latam meeting ahead of FAO summit and lays out his programme to eradicate hunger. On the sidelines, the wife of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes a rare public appearance at a first ladies summit.

ROME, ITALY (NOVEMBER 15, 2009) REUTERS - Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva on Sunday (November 15) hosted African delegations in a meeting to promote his "Zero Hunger" programme.
Lula, born to a poor family in Brazil's northeast has spent much of his time in office rallying at home and abroad to combat hunger. He has made it his aim to eradicate hunger.

Launched in 2003, in six years his "Zero Hunger" programme has slashed child malnutrition by 73% using food banks, community kitchens and locally procured school meals.

The Brazilian government has promoted redistribution of land and supported small farmers. Brazil's constitution enshrines the right to food, monitored by a national council on food and nutrition.

Anti-poverty agency ActionAid ranks Brazil as the top nation in the war on hunger.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe also attended the meeting.

Last year's food crisis, when fears of food shortages gripped grain markets -- sending wheat and rice prices soaring to record highs and sparking hoarding and riots -- was a wake-up call, one that experts hope will translate into sustained investment.

The unrest was a powerful reminder of the risks of food insecurity and helped spur the world's richest nations to promise to spend $20 billion over three years to help small, subsistence farmers improve their productivity.

Meanwhile the wife of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Azam Farahi, joined NAM (Non Aligned Movement) first ladies summit for a meeting aimed at identifying concrete steps that could be made to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition.

World leaders and government officials meet in Rome on Monday (November 16) for a three-day U.N. summit on how to fight global hunger, but anti-poverty campaigners are already writing off the event as a missed opportunity.