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Education Plays Key Role In War On Hunger

Published: Tue 29 Nov 2005 09:43 AM
Education For Rural Poor Plays Key Role In War On Hunger - UN Food Agency
Top priority should be given to improving access to quality education in rural areas for communities of farmers, fisherfolk, and livestock producers as well as people living in mountains, forests and deserts, as a key factor in the battle against hunger, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.
“Failure to educate children in rural areas perpetuates needless hunger. Attending primary education is one of the surest ways out of the cycle of poverty and hunger for children and their families,” FAO’s top envoy at the Fifth High Level Group Meeting on Education for All (EFA) in Beijing, He Changchui, said.
Growing inequalities exist among urban and rural regions with about 75 per cent of the world’s poor living in rural areas. Giving the multifaceted character of poverty and food insecurity, the ‘agriculture-only’ model of rural development has proven inadequate, according to FAO.
Research indicates that education contributes significantly to reducing malnutrition while playing an important role in increasing productivity. Sudden improvements can be made which enable accelerated progress in primary school attendance when countries make education free of school fees and other charges.
“Children attending schools offering free meals are 30 per cent more likely to complete primary education,” Mr. He said.
Basic education immediately and positively affects the productivity of subsistence and smallholder farmers, FAO stressed. The provision of more and better basic educational services such as primary education, literacy and basic skills training in rural areas can substantially improve productivity and livelihoods.
The three-day Beijing high level group meeting is addressing Education for Rural People (ERP) as a core policy issue. Education is a key economic, social and cultural asset for individuals and their nations, with each year of additional primary schooling representing an important asset for higher income in later life.
“The challenge is to work for sustainable development in rural areas that favours the poor and provides more resources for health, education and gender equality and a sustainable environment worldwide,” Lavinia Gasperini, senior officer for agricultural extension at FAO’s headquarters in Rome, said.

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