Public Papers - 1991 - October
Proclamation 6356 -- World Food Day, 1991 and 1992
By the President of the United States
At a time when America traditionally celebrates the promise of a rich autumn harvest, we do well to remember that hunger and malnutrition are a painful reality for millions of people around the world today. The situation is particularly tragic among infants and children in less developed countries. Each year millions die of starvation or disease; many others are permanently disabled as a result of chronic vitamin deficiencies. Recognizing the threat that hunger poses to human life and to the stability of nations, the United States is participating in the 11th annual observance of World Food Day.
The American people have long been providing generous humanitarian assistance to the hungry and less fortunate. This year alone, the United States will give more than 8 million metric tons of food, worth nearly .9 billion, to hungry people in other countries. In addition to sharing our Nation's abundant agricultural resources, we will also continue to share our technical knowledge and expertise, helping needy peoples to achieve greater food production and economic development.
Although we have taken important strides in the campaign against hunger, we still have much more to accomplish. Just as there is no single cause behind this large and complex problem, there is no single solution. For example, the worst reports of hunger and starvation often come from countries that have been racked by years of political upheaval and civil war. Indeed, in countries such as the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, famine has not been so much the result of adverse weather conditions and crop shortages as of strife-related barriers to the distribution of food. The needless suffering of millions of innocent men, women, and children compels us to persevere in the quest for lasting peace and security.
We must also continue to promote private enterprise and free markets as catalysts for economic development and technological progress among nations. In many countries, centralized government planning has destroyed incentives for farmers and stifled agricultural production, leading to widespread poverty and hunger. Elsewhere -- even where crops are abundant -- excessive trade barriers prevent farmers from selling their goods on world markets, thereby limiting economic opportunity and growth. That is why we must continue working to open the world's markets and to liberalize trade through negotiations such as the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Another threat to the future of some developing nations is the systematic degradation of the natural resource base on which sustainable agriculture depends. Forests are being destroyed at a rapid rate and soils depleted through subsequent erosion. Failure to protect the environment poses a significant long-term threat to the ability of those countries to feed their inhabitants.
The observance of World Food Day reminds us that the chilling specter of hunger and starvation is often nothing less than the lengthening shadow of illiteracy, poverty, government repression, and civil unrest. On this occasion, as we renew our commitment to feeding the hungry, let us also reaffirm our determination to find the lasting answers that go hand in hand with peace, opportunity, and education.
The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 230, has designated October 16, 1991, and October 16, 1992, as ``World Food Day'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of these days.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 16, 1991, and October 16, 1992, as World Food Day. I call on all Americans to observe these days with appropriate programs and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:51 p.m., October 15, 1991]
Note: This proclamation was not received in time for publication in the appropriate issue. It was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 15, and it was published in the Federal Register on October 17.