Jamaica will host, with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Third Annual Telefood Concert on November 28, 1999.
This unique event, born out of the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, is to mobilise solidarity for the fight against hunger and raise funds to support grassroots projects in developing countries. It is being staged for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. The first concert was held in Rome, and the second in Senegal.
The Third Telefood Concert will be broadcast via satellite and radio in over 90 countries. It will be the first to be seen in the Americas and Britain. The concert has attracted top artistes from five Caribbean countries as well as Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The staging of the 1999 Telefood Concert, with its theme “Youth Against Hunger“, within the Caribbean Community is most opportune. It reinforces the emphasis which the Community placed on youth in 1998 and underscores the correctness of the Regional Transformation Programme (RTP) for Agriculture which CARICOM Heads of Government approved in 1996. The major thrust of the RTP is to enhance food security and nutritional well-being which are seen as basic rights of all people.
The underlying philosophy of the Telefood Concert of cooperation, involvement and the enabling of small people to produce, provides a timely reminder to all national, regional and international organisations in the agricultural sector of their particular tasks in the RTP. The one and one-half billion United States Dollars food import bill and the threats to the export market of the traditional agricultural commodities are challenges which must be met head-on if the Caribbean is not to add to the 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and chronic malnutrition.
The Third Telefood Concert is expected to raise about US$2 million, all of which will go directly to FAO's small-scale agricultural projects. These small projects have the potential to impact dramatically on the incomes of rural and poor families.
The Caribbean Community applauds the effort of the Government of Jamaica and the FAO to use the artistic talent of the Region to stir the international community to the plight of the poor and hungry.