The Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama was presented the Achievement Award from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the Fijian Government’s commitment to addressing world hunger and food production.

The award which was presented in Rome at the FAO’s 39th Conference also recognises the great effort made by countries to commit to one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals – to reduce global hunger and develop food security.

In accepting this award, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of food security and sustainable food development to Fiji, in particular for ordinary Fijians.

“Fiji, as a Pacific Small Island Developing State, has not been immune to the challenge of providing the necessary services to support and feed a growing population”, the Prime Minister told international delegates. “Despite this challenge, in Fiji, we have achieved that goal of cutting hunger in half—and did so in 2012- three years before the deadline– one of only 38 countries to do so.”

“This achievement highlights the will of my Government to commit to strong partnerships with organisations such as the FAO. By working together in concert, Fiji not only succeeded but succeeded ahead of the mark.”

In his remarks, he also pointed out the importance of the agriculture sector to Fiji’s socioeconomic development. He added that coordinating closely with agencies such as the FAO positions the Fijian Government to effectively pursue agriculture and food production development.

“The most basic goal before us is being free from hunger, a right enshrined in our Constitution. And my Government is delivering and upholds this right in order for every Fijian to be able to live healthy and productive lives. Indeed, our Constitution has a vast array of unprecedented socio-economic and civil and political rights”, the Prime Minister said. “While Fiji has made great strides in recent years to eradicate hunger, my Government won’t rest until malnourishment is at zero.”

At this year’s conference, Prime Minister Bainimarama stressed the need, especially for Small Islands Developing States, to work closely with each other to address global food security.

“There is more work to be done and we must not stop. Through strategic partnerships such as our partnership with FAO, all of us can focus on and share our collective experiences to pursue our primary goal: the total eradication of hunger globally”, the PM said.