According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Cuba is one of its best students,” Theodor Friedrich, representative of the international organization on the island, told reporters this Wednesday in Havana. He noted the policies of the Cuban government in terms of food security and the design of public policies for social protection.
The commendable efforts are reinforced by the fact that Cuba is one of the few states both to have met the Millennium Development Goals and the goal set at the World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, an event at which Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro – in a speech described as impressive – called for more serious goals regarding hunger and poverty.
In the lead up to the celebrations for World Food Day and the 70th anniversary of the founding of FAO this October 16, Friedrich emphasized that major projects are underway in Cuba, in collaboration with the agency he represents, , including support for national initiatives for agricultural development, food security, fisheries, forestry and nutrition.
He recalled that the island is one of the 42 founding nations of the FAO, and is very receptive to its work, as well as being an active collaborator across different platforms and conventions.
In the year in which an agenda geared toward 17 Sustainable Development Goals is underway, and in a world where 80% of the poor live in rural areas with agriculture as a fundamental means of subsistence, measures to achieve a Zero Hunger Generation and the eradication of extreme poverty must continue to be implemented. “We have already embarked on the path toward the new development agenda,” Friedrich stated, which was recently approved by 193 states at the United Nations.
He also noted that the last three director generals of the FAO have visited Cuba, reflecting the recognition of national efforts in this field.
After seven decades of ties between Cuba and the FAO, Friedrich recalled that the most important aspect is not the amount of money invested, but the opportunities and capacities created to complete his mission here, including the support, technical assistance and dissemination of information to the professional food and agriculture sector, among others. He also highlighted the aims of the Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2014 – 2018 and the impact of South-South cooperation.
Furthermore, he reiterated the progress of the island in several strategic areas, compared to other countries. However, this does not mean that the FAO has completed its mission in the country. There is still some way to go in terms of conservation agriculture, for example, and ways to better prepare for the increasing impact of climate change. On sustainable production, the FAO representative explained that this is a present and future global challenge, in a world that continues to grow at breakneck speed.