Belize joined the international community in marking World Food Day but according to statistics, forty-two percent of the population is living in poverty. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise commemorated the day under the theme, “Our actions are our future”. A small ceremony this morning at Yo Creek Village’s Agriculture Station in Orange Walk. The main focus of this year’s celebration was the need for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life. Special Envoy for Women and Children Rossana Briceno says the day is a sound reminder that food is a valuable resource that cannot be wasted.
The day’s keynote speaker, Prime Minister John Briceno also spoke about the importance of getting food to a person living in tough situations and how food can better be managed.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “This year the World Food Day comes at a particularly difficult time. In a sense this year’s event asks all of us to be extraordinary for it is a reminder to each of us that indeed our actions are our future. How do we shape the future in a time of such uncertainty and change ? How do we shape the future at a time when this awful COVID pandemic has caused thousands of Belizeans to be unemployed and many more thousands who are already poor and unable to find the money to buy the proper food to feed their families ? We do it first by being there for each other. Just imagine for a moment the child who woke up this morning hungry and have nothing to eat. Why ? Because his or her mother or father has lost their jobs. Think also about those parents who were once able to provide for their family and today have less income or no income and think of how much basic food items cost all of us today as items continue to go up daily. When we think about these things there is less reason to hope but we must see the world not as what it is today but as what it needs to be tomorrow. Our task then is to understand that the changes we face because of this pandemic must not last a minute longer than it is necessary. Instead we must allow our thoughts and actions to be geared towards a better environment and a better life for everyone. Indeed we cannot continue to ignore the fact that we live in a world where close to 20% of our people are undernourished. We cannot ignore the fact that more than 99 million children – some of them living right here in our beautiful Belize – are undernourished and as such underweight. This is unacceptable and I agree with the point that Rosanna was making that there is so much food that is going to waste and that we must find a way how we can get this food especially to our children who do not have to eat.”
This year’s recipient of the Food Heroes Award was Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, Jose Abelardo Mai, who is currently on an official visit in Salvador.