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FAO applauds Venezuelan government efforts to make food sovereignty sustainable

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) applauded the Venezuelan government’s efforts to make food sovereignty sustainable through initiatives such as the Fishing Law, which came into affect on Saturday, March 14th.

The FAO is the principal United Nations (U.N.) agency in charge of international activities in the fight against hunger.  Its representative in Venezuela, Francisco Arias, highlighted Venezuela’s efforts in this area during an appearance on ‘Aló Presidente’ (Hello, President). 

After expressing a message of warm regards from FAO Director Jacques Diof to President Chávez, Arias said that the decision to end fish trawling made by the Venezuelan government “is based on what we call the ‘code of conduct for responsible fishing’ and is one of the more difficult choices that governments must make.”

In Aria’s opinion, the initiative will allow the law’s environmental and socio-economic impacts to be studied, and it will lead to sustainable food security via increases in fish production through all of the approved projects in the field.

On behalf of the U.N. agency, Arias thanked the Venezuelan government: “Thank you for letting me be a witness to your government’s initiatives and what you are doing to maintain and sustain the food security and sovereignty of the Venezuelan people, and of peoples in Africa through projects [Venezuela] finances with the FAO.”

FAO willing to support study into Law’s impact

“If the Venezuelan government requests it, [the FAO] would be willing to accompany you in this study to monitor the impact the law will have, which we believe will be positive in every facet of economic fishing activities,” Arias proposed.

President Chávez responded by asking the Minister of People’s Power for Agriculture and Land, Elías Jaua, to coordinate with Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro in order to ask for the FAO’s institutional support in this matter.

“Francisco, we are not just thinking of Venezuela in doing this, we are thinking of the entire community,” the President said. 

He also noted that Venezuela is a sibling to all of the peoples of the Caribbean: “Now we are siblings and hug the Caribbean.  We have Petrocaribe, for example, [and] ALBA [the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas] Foods.  From Petrocaribe the Petrocaribe Ministerial Council for Agriculture was born, in response to the food crisis.”

President Chávez speaks for those who are dying of hunger in the world

The President criticized developed countries of the North that are implementing rescue programs for banks, thus giving millions of millions of dollars and euros to save banks and corporations.  “Who is giving one dollar to save the children that are dying of hunger in the third world?” he asked.

President Chávez lamented the forgetfulness that results from “crisis after crisis.”  “The world has forgotten about the food crisis, a crisis that is the root of the hunger of millions of innocent people,” he said.

He qualified as “modest, the projects that Venezuela supports in Africa. . . . If we wanted to have more economic power it would be to help however we can, not just our own people, but the other peoples that are right here in the Caribbean.”

“I want to be at the forefront of the development of fishing in Venezuela.  We have now ended fish trawling.  Long live fishing for life, the fishing of development!” expressed President Chávez. 

Prensa Presidencial, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 16, 2009

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