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FAO Celebrates 60 years of fighting against world hunger and names Jeremy Irons goodwill ambassador

Gianni AlemannoMayor of Rome“Eliminating hunger and poverty are values we are deeply committed to. It?s not just political terms. It?s part of being human, of being a citizen.”

Sixty years ago, the UN?s Food and Agriculture Organization opened in Rome. As part of its anniversary, key speakers talked about the danger and domino effect of high food prices, especially in developing countries.

Some predict that by the year 2050, food production will need to double to feed the world?s population. But climate change and a weak economy are now part of the equation. Chile?s former president, Michelle Bachelet, said part of the solution is focusing on women and their growing role in agriculture.

Michelle BacheletFormer President of Chile, Executive Director of UN Women. “Only 5.6 percent of aid is targeted specifically to women in agriculture, so we need to improve what we?re doing.”

The reason, she says, is simple. In Africa, many men are leaving their villages in search for work. The result is that more and more women are left to care for the land. In Africa 70 percent of ; agriculture workers are women. Worldwide, the number is 43 percent.

Michelle Bachelet Former president of Chile, Executive Director of UN Women"Yet women seldom own the land they operate. They have smaller plots of land than men and less access to resources such as loans and fertilizers to get the highest yield from the land or farms.”

Archbishop Luigi Travaglino is the FAO?s permanent observer of the Holy See. He read a message sent by the pope, which in part said, “there need to be long term solutions to world hunger, not only emergency responses.”

The FAO also officially named Hollywood actor Jeremy Irons, as its newest goodwill ambassador.