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Agriculture Key to Averting Conflict and Promoting Lasting Peace

Paris(IANS/AKI): While stressing how warfare worsens global hunger, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization chief Jose Graziano da Silva said that, agriculture plays a vital role in averting conflict and promoting lasting peace.

In a keynote address at a meeting here on agriculture, defence, diplomacy and development, he said, "Hunger and peace are closely linked. Conflicts have a major impact on local food systems."

"They contribute to the worsening of hunger in the world," Graziano da Silva told the forum organised by the French Foreign Ministry and the 52-member international agri-food group Club Demeter.

"But we must keep hope alive. Even in areas worst hit by violence, farmers, herders and fishers continue to produce food," he said.

According to FAO, almost half the population of violence-hit countries lives in rural areas, where livelihoods largely depend on agriculture.

According to two recent FAO-led reports, the State of the World's Food Security and Nutrition (2017) and the Global Report on Food Crises (2018), Hunger is on the rise and one of its main driving factors is conflict.

Citing the example of South Sudan, which he visited last year, Graziano da Silva said nations need to keep funding the "resilience capacity" of farmers and herders who are producing food in the most adverse circumstances.

"Once local food systems are broken, it is more difficult to rebuild. Humanitarian action, while fundamental, is not enough. It alone cannot stop this trend of worsening food crises... To this must be added actions for sustainable development to generate new opportunities." he said.

He said that, in Niger, France's support to FAO and the World Food Programme has allowed the UN agency to offer work to young people and women in the agri-food sector, staunching the flow of people leaving their land.


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