Posted: Friday, October 21, 2022. 5:21 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: On the occasion of World Food Day, observed today in Belize, Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai gave recognition to farmers and food suppliers for putting food on the table.
“On such an important occasion, it is proper to recognize our heroes: farmers and food suppliers who labor throughout the food system – who ensure that food makes its way “From Farm to the Table” even amidst personal dangers,” said Minister Mai.
“Farmers and food industry workers keep on toiling day and night despite odds and provide food for our tables. It is their actions that help shape our future and their commitment to the land that ensures we have a healthy, productive nation. Thank you, farmers and food industry workers for the work you put in to make Belize healthy and strong.”
Mai was talking at the opening of the World Food Day Fair held today at the Agriculture and Natural Resources Institute (ANRI) in Hope Creek, Stann Creek District.
Though World Food Day is observed on October 16 worldwide, here in Belize it was to have been observed on Friday, October 14 but due to bad weather, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise of Belize (MAFSE) postponed the activities to Friday, October 21.
While the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which organizes the World Food Day celebration worldwide observed the day with the theme ‘Leave NO ONE behind’, Belize’s theme is ‘Our Actions Are Our Future- Better Production, Better Nutrition, A Better Environment and A Better Life’.
“World Food Day is a globally celebrated activity,” said Luis Pook, MAFSE Communications Director, while pointing out that many organizations, not necessarily connected to the Ministry of Agriculture, set up agricultural, industrial, and educational booths at ANRI for World Food Day.
“Food is not just in the realm of agriculture; it’s also something important to other sectors as well, like the education sector,” Pook said.
Minister Mai said MAFSE’s mandate is to continue improving food security, food quality, and food affordability in a sustainable manner while at the same time taking into consideration the conservation of our environment.
“This we attempt to do by strengthening our collaboration with neighbouring countries like Mexico and Guatemala, our Partners in Development, engaging with social partners, reaching out to rural and urban areas, and prioritizing the most vulnerable,” Minister Mai said.
“One has only to look at the activities going on in my Ministry at present- the Sembrando Vida project sponsored by the Mexican Government and facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, arising from bilateral agreements with Mexico; the greenhouse project offered through the Caricom Development Fund; the constant regimen of training in fruit tree management and bio fertilizer training offered in all districts; outreach by the Cooperatives Department to ensure rural women and youth co-operatives are included in projects; our school gardening program in conjunction with Ministry of Education … these all speak to the same World Food Day objectives … and the SDGs put out by the United Nations, while at the same time fulfilling our government’s Plan Belize goals,” he said.
Minister Mai said the 2022 celebration of World Food Day in Belize focuses on many issues such as hunger, obesity, environmental deterioration, and climate change that are among the many challenges the world faces.
“We try to combat these by promoting social protection programs, environment-conscious agricultural practices, and more resilient food systems.”
He outlined the international objectives of World Food Day, such as encouraging attention to agricultural food production; encouraging economic and technical cooperation among developing countries; encouraging the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories; heightening public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world, promoting the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and strengthening international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and drawing attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.
Minister Mai also said this year’s theme also promoted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly ending of poverty; ending of hunger; ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all; and protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
“These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations in 2015, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity,” said Minister Mai.
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