Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Saturday addressed the first-ever Group of Eight Agricultural Ministerial, saying that it underscores the important role that agriculture will play in the coming months and years, as ways are sought to improve global food security.
"Hunger and malnutrition are among the most devastating and persistent challenges on the globe," Vilsack said. "As we saw with last year's food riots, food insecurity not only threatens vulnerable populations, it puts our economic security and international stability at risk. If there is one thing we have learned from the global recession, economic crisis knows few boundaries, and economic crisis not only threatens prosperity but also security."
Vilsack said that committing to eliminate food insecurity is both a moral obligation and a critical strategy in promoting economic development and global stability. Continuing to invest in emergency food assistance, as well as the tools needed by developing economies to develop their agricultural sectors is necessary. He said these strategies have been developed, it is now a matter of summoning the political will and leadership.
"Investing in agricultural development will help lead the way to a permanent solution to food insecurity, by working to restore economic growth that directly engages the world's poorest populations, many of which depend on agricultural labor for most- or all-of their household income and food consumption," Vilsack said. "Improving the lives of poor populations by growing rural economies through broad-based rural, economic and agricultural development will help the world achieve the goal of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger."
Vilsack concluded his remarks by talking about how a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of World Trade Orgainzation would enhance efficiencies in the global market by reducing trade barriers.
"Our goal must go beyond helping those in need through these difficult times," Vilsack said. "We must forge a course to a future in which all of us are fed and our communities can prosper."