BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai expressed his readiness Thursday to cooperate with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to eliminate poverty, saying that hunger has no religion. “It does not distinguish between one person and another,” Rai said during a visit to the headquarters of FAO in Rome. “Lebanon’s church is ready to coordinate and cooperate with FAO on all levels and through all its institutions,” Rai said. Rai said the food security of the Lebanese is under threat and their agriculture risks collapse, urging FAO to include Lebanon on the list of its major projects. Small Lebanese farmers are in need of guidance and help to boost their agriculture in order to have a decent living, he said. “This will reduce the migration from rural areas to the cities, preserve land ... and thus limit immigration to outside Lebanon,” Rai added. Da Silva said the organization considers Rai’s visit of extreme importance, highlighting the link between food security and peace.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 19, 2012, on page 4.