The assistant director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Hartwig de Haen says, “as long as millions of people are still suffering from chronic hunger and extreme poverty, there cannot be sustainable development.”
Mr. de Haen spoke Tuesday at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. He says agriculture plays a vital role in sustainable development because “more than seventy percent of the poor in developing countries live in rural areas and depend mostly on agriculture for their livelihoods.”
He says sustainable agriculture and rural development are the basis for any successful fight against hunger and poverty. The FAO estimates that the world’s demand for food will increase by sixty percent by 2030, with “most of the additional demand and production originating in developing countries.”
The FAO has endorsed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s WEHAB Initiative (Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity) as a way to ensure sustainable development. Mr. de Haen spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua. Click above links to hear interview.