October 14, 1983
By the President of the United States of America
An adequate, wholesome food supply is essential to the physical and economic well-being of every individual and every nation. Countries throughout the world are dedicated to eliminating poverty-related hunger to the fullest extent possible. Although this objective is widely acknowledged, the resources and policies needed to achieve that object vary widely from country to country.
This Nation is richly endowed with natural resources. Through the generations, our people have developed the knowledge, the technology, the policies, and the economic system to transform our endowment into agricultural abundance. Not all nations are similarly endowed. Hunger persists throughout the world. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that as many as 500 million people suffer from poverty-related malnutrition, especially in lesser developed countries.
The United States has a long tradition of sharing its agricultural abundance with those in need. We are strongly committed to the constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization, which calls upon member nations to ``raise the levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their respective jurisdiction'' and to contribute to ``expanding the world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger.'' We have sought, and will continue to strive, to improve the economies and food production abilities of those countries where the need is greatest.
To this end, the United States has provided needy nations more than $40 billion of assistance under the Food for Peace Program since 1954. This year alone our food aid activities are assisting 70 countries. We are training an average of more than 2,000 agriculturalists per year from developing countries, and we are providing technical assistance to 50 nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to help develop their food research and production capabilities. In addition, we actively encourage American businesses to invest in projects that help build the agricultural economies of developing countries.
The people of the United States, as well as the people of other countries that have joined in the battle against hunger, can justifiably share a sense of accomplishment in the fact that food production per person has increased 21 percent in lesser developed countries since 1954. The concern of the international community with the problem of poverty-related malnutrition is reflected in the response to World Food Day. We particularly salute the Food and Agriculture Organization which, on World Food Day this year, celebrates 30 years of dedication to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition.
In recognition of one of the key recommendations of the 1980 report of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger, that called for efforts to be taken to increase public awareness of the world hunger problem, the Congress of the United States, by Senate Joint Resolution 81, has designated October 16, 1983, as ``World Food Day'' and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 16, 1983, as World Food Day and call upon the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate activities to explore ways in which our Nation can further contribute to the elimination of hunger in the world.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:38 p.m., October 14, 1983]