Receiving the award in Rome, Italy was Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who attended a Special high level ceremony at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.
The award was for attaining the targets set by both Millennium Development Goal Number 1 and the goal set by the 1996 World Food Summit of halving the absolute number of hungry people by 2015.
The Achievement Award, presented to Prime Minister Hinds by the Director General of the FAO Dr Jose Graziano da Silva, states that “based on FAO estimates, the Republic of Guyana achieved by year end 2012, three years in advance, the target set by the 1996 World Food Summit to reduce by 2015 at least half the number of people in the country suffering from undernourishment.
Addressing the Special Award Event of the 38th Session of the FAO Conference, Prime Minister Hinds hailed the contributions of women in combating hunger and ensuring food security.
“Of course, the women who are among our farming communities will immediately come to mind. Praise for their production and marketing of farm produce is well known, greatly admired and deserving of outstanding recognition.
The women farmers of Guyana who produce vegetables, herbs and spices, root crops, whether on small plots, in kitchen gardens or as workers on estates are well known to be hard-working and very skilled,” he said.
The Prime Minister highlighted that food security is not a single issue; it is an interdependent and interconnected set of issues involving agriculture, energy, the environment, government policy and for developing countries like Guyana, our overall growth and development,”
He also credited women –mothers and grandmothers, wives and sisters, aunts and various relatives– who provide the management of our households to ensure that healthy and nutritious diets are provided to thousands of families, rural and urban, in our country.
The Guyana government, he pledged, would continue to invest in agriculture, expanding safety nets and social assistance programmes and enhancing income-generating activities for the rural and urban poor to improve the food situation of the country and ultimately the standard of living for our people.
Twenty countries have satisfied Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number one, to halve the proportion of hungry people. Their progress was measured between 1990-92 and 2010-2012, against benchmarks established by the international community at the UN General Assembly in 2000.
An additional 18 countries were congratulated for reaching both MDG 1 and the more stringent World Food Summit (WFS) goal, having reduced by half the absolute number of undernourished people between 1990-92 and 2010-2012.
The WFS goal was set in 1996, when 180 nations met at FAO headquarters to discuss ways to end hunger.
The countries achieving MDG 1 alone were identified as: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Togo and Uruguay.
The countries achieving both MDG 1 and the WFS are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Viet Nam.