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AGRICULTURE REPORT – November 5, 2002: World Food Day - 2002-11-04

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

More than one-hundred countries celebrated World Food Day on October sixteenth. The event observed the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in nineteen-forty-five. The main message of this year’s World Food Day was “Water: Source of Food Security.”

Officials want people to understand how a lack of water can help cause a lack of food. Officials say the world’s fresh water supply must be supervised more carefully in order to increase the world’s food supply.

Water covers about seventy-five percent of the Earth’s surface. Yet, only a small amount is fresh water that can be used for crops. Experts say food production will decrease as the ability to use these fresh water sources becomes restricted. U-N officials estimate about seventy percent of the total amount of fresh water is used by farmers for their crops.

Officials say the need for food increases as the world’s population grows. The U-N estimates that by the year two-thousand-thirty, the world will need sixty percent more food. Most of that increase in food will come from intensified agriculture supported by water irrigation. However, fresh water is already in short supply in many countries.

Jacques Diouf is the director of the U-N Food and Agriculture Organization. He says that twenty countries do not have enough water to produce the food their populations need. Ten nations withdraw more than forty percent of their total fresh water resource for agriculture.

Mister Diouf fears that the problem will only worsen as the need for water by people and industry grows. Mister Diouf warns that it takes one-thousand times more water to feed the human population than it does to satisfy its thirst for drinking water. Because of this, water is one of the most important issues in the world today.

This year’s World Food Day attempted to increase public knowledge about Earth’s growing fresh water problem. Countries around the world marked the day with special events. Organizers urged policymakers to approve new measures to control water use for agriculture.

The Food and Agriculture Organization will take part in the International Year of Freshwater next year. It will also be present at the third World Water Forum in Japan next year.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Jill Moss.