Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty

This is a special post because today is World Food Day. Established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation UN (FAO) in 1979, World Food Day is held every year on the 16th October the anniversary of date of the founding of the FAO in 1945. This year FAO is celebrating it’s 70th birthday and the UN Secretary General and others are hosting a ceremony at Expo Milano 2015. Every year a different theme is chosen for World Food Day; this year the theme for World Food Day 2015, is “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”. Member countries will discuss initiatives to develop sustainability in agriculture to work towards eradicating hunger and poverty.

The World Health Organisation says ‘Empowering women farmers could reduce hunger by about 150 million people’.

The objectives of World Food Day are to:

  • encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;
  • encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
  • encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
  • heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
  • promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
  • strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

Risotto alla Milanese


Rice is the third most cultivated agricultural crop in the word and the most important staple grain. As is the staple food for more than 50% of the world’s population. It provides more than one fifth of the calorie intake for humans worldwide and 20% of daily dietary energy. Although rice is grown across the world, 95% of rice produced for export is produced by smallholding subsistence farms in developing countries with Asia collectively responsible for 87% of global rice production. Post harvest losses due to poor infrastructure such as poor roads and storage facilities, has contributed to farmers loosing notable amounts of income and raising concerns relating to food security.

I’ve chosen to make a recipe from the host city for this year’s FAO ceremony so as not to detract the importance of any of the individual countries on the list.

Legend goes that a young Milanese stained glass window artist sprinkled saffron into the risotto at the wedding of his master’s daughter, the risotto became golden yellow and was instantly a timeless hit. In fact risotto with saffron was first described in writing during the first decade of the 1800s but officially established as ‘Risotto alla Milanese’ by celebrated Milanese chef Felice Lurasci in his 1829 book ‘Nuovo Cuoco Milanese Economico’. Many associate the addition of saffron and it’s golden hue as a symbol of the wealth of Milan; not only is the yellow reminiscent of the precious metal but because saffron is pound for pound actually more expensive than gold. The best thing is that this recipe is such a good excuse to use the saffron I was so kindly donated by Mojgan all the way from Iran!


Risotto alla Milanese

  • Carnaroli rice
  • Saffron
  • Onion
  • Thyme
  • Beef stock
  • Butter
  • Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Soak saffron in a bowl of boiling water. In another bowl prepare stock ready to make your risotto.
  2. For the parmesan crisps, grate parmsan and press down in circles onto baking paper. Place in hot oven and bake until golden the remove and let cool.
  3. Add very finely chopped onion to a pan with melted butter and fresh thyme. Cook slowly till translucent – make sure not to let the onion go brown.
  4. Once softened, add the rice, season with salt & pepper and stir for a few minutes.
  5. Add stock and saffron intermittently to the pan slowly and continuously while stirring the whole time until the risotto is a silky consistency but the rice still has a little bite.
  6. Serve with paremsan crips, fresh thyme and cracked black pepper.



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2 thoughts on “WORLD FOOD DAY 2015

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