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October 16th is United Nations World Food Day, which is observed annually.
Last year, some 923 million people suffered from hunger on a regular basis. Environmental factors, access to markets, and increases in food prices are just some of the contributing factors. Since last year, an additional 105 million people, for a total of more than one billion people, suffer from chronic hunger.
Nearly 70 percent of the world's hungry, the majority of whom are women, live and work on small-scale farms. Often unable to produce enough to feed themselves, many of these people cannot afford to purchase food for their families.
In response to the food crisis, the U.S. Government is working as part of a collaborative global effort centered around country-led processes to improve food security. At the 2009 L’Aquila G-8 Summit, President Barack Obama pledged the United States would invest 3.5 billion dollars in agriculture-led economic growth to combat hunger. This commitment helped garner more than 16 billion dollars from other donors to support this new approach to advance agricultural development and reduce hunger around the world. This investment is in addition to our commitment to emergency food assistance.
The United States believes that food security is a foundation for building social and economic development. It means that all people in a society have access, at all times, to enough food for an active and healthy life. That is why President Obama said, during his inaugural speech: "To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.”