Fight Against Hunger Must Go Beyond Market Forces, Says Vatican

Intervention at Conference of Food and Agriculture Organization

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ROME, NOV. 9, 2001 ( The law of supply and demand cannot be the only rule in an area as crucial as food, a Vatican aide told the 31st general conference of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, who has just been appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, spoke on behalf of the Vatican at the FAO meeting being held here from Nov. 2-13.

We «have to admit that all over the world, supply and demand even for food products are rather deprived of reference to the principle of solidarity, and are anchored in a ´culture of having,´ and not in an ethic of solidarity, which is capable of expressing the sentiments of brotherhood and common membership, on the part of every state, in the entire family of peoples and nations,» Archbishop Marchetto said.

He referred to «the signs of grave concern that are manifested in different areas of the planet. … Being honest and sincere, if we look around at the motivations settling our contemporary international life, we can see, first of all, opposing interests, and desires to defeat the other; collision prevails [over] cooperation!»

«Because of this, leaders leave negotiations pending,» which they neglect, «not answering human needs» readily and effectively, he said.

To respond to the needs of the estimated 815 million people who suffer from malnutrition, the archbishop said that the solutions cannot be «technical choices» but must be found in each one of our actions and responsibilities, responding to obligations and being available to others, including the «community, state and nation.»

Archbishop Marchetto concluded by saying that today the Gospel miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes must happen again, «starting in our heart: We ought to be ready, not simply to share what we have, but above all to believe that our gift to others is possible and just.»

He adde: «This approach must become a productive policy, through redistribution and sharing that aim precisely at redressing the imbalance between the food needs of the entire population, […] and food supply, already globally sufficient, as we can see from production data.»

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