World-wide some 820 million people are starving, and two billion persons suffer from malnutrition. In order to reduce the number of starving people, we must first reduce our food loss and waste, and by doing so we additionally contribute to the responsible management of natural resources and environmental sustainability, Minister of State for Food Chain Supervision Róbert Zsigó stressed at the 46th session of the Committee on World Food Security held in Rome.

As part of the meeting, attendees also paid tribute to the World Food Day whose topic this year is ‘Our actions are our future – Healthy diet for a zerohunger world’. At the meeting, the Ministry of Agriculture was represented by Minister of State Róbert Zsigó who highlighted in his address that, parallel with an increase in the world’s population, there is a rise in the need for foodstuffs, and therefore increased production on its own cannot be regarded as a solution. He said in 2018 Hungary spent aid worth USD 12 million on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals as part of 40 development cooperation projects. In 2019 Hungary has launched its largest international development programme to date in the Republic of Uganda, through which our country contributes to securing the food supply of Uganda’s population.

Mr Zsigó drew attention to the fact that everywhere the majority of people living in extreme poverty and starvation live in the countryside, their livelihood is dependent on agriculture, and therefore it is necessary to adopt an approach that is based on the needs and capacities of local communities. Retaining and creating jobs, education and the availability of services all contribute to making the rural lifestyle more attractive, in particular for young people. In Hungary local small producers supply their products directly to local schools and nursery schools, thereby guaranteeing diverse and healthy meals for children receiving public meals. Research and innovation also play an important role as these, too, improve the quality of life in provincial areas, creating an opportunity for younger generations to enter the sector, he added.

The World Day is commemorated in a number of countries, including Hungary, on the day of the establishment of FAO, 16 October. The World Day was conceived at a Hungarian initiative. In 1979 at a FAO conference, the agricultural minister of the day raised the idea of creating a world day dedicated to food and farmers supplying food. As a result, this year’s World Food Day is especially significant for Hungary, and the Ministry of Agriculture sincerely hopes that our common commitment to the security of the world’s food supply will accelerate the attainment of our common goals.