Salesian Missions Responds to United Nations’ Report That Warns of a Deepening Food Crisis in Africa

New Rochelle, NY (November 17, 2009) – In a report released November 10, 2009, the United Nations agricultural agency warned that despite good global cereal harvests this year, millions of people in dozens of poor countries are in desperate need of emergency humanitarian aid due to high food prices.

Particularly hard hit is Eastern Africa, where according to the Food and Agricultural Organization, a prolonged drought and a mounting conflict, resulting in trade disruptions and higher food prices, will leave an estimated 20 million people in need of food aid.

The report further noted that 4 million Kenyans will be left either highly or extremely food insecure due to a 30% decrease in the production of maize from last year.

Salesian Missions continues to be hard at work in Africa, providing food, hope and opportunity to those affected by the food crisis.

Salesian Missions currently operates more than 90 agricultural schools around the world that serve youth ages 15 to 20. Agricultural schools in Kenya and around the globe provide workshops that teach modern agricultural practices, farm management and marketing basics--benefiting families and entire communities. Salesian Missions recognizes and supports the need for food security to attack the scourge of malnutrition.

“Applied agricultural education encourages youth to stay and farm the land instead of drifting aimlessly into cities in search of food and necessities,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions -- headquartered in New Rochelle, NY. “The result is improved, more self-sufficient communities and enhanced food security.”

According to Salesian Missions, growth and development is the sustainable and long-term way to combat poverty and provide food security. Agricultural schools not only provide skills training, but also food for students and their families.

In addition, programs include trade schools, feeding programs, and other technical training and education that helps youth learn to help themselves and increase the capacity of their families and their communities.

"We teach youth how to help themselves and rebuild their communities," says Fr. Mark. "This is why our focus remains on education and vocational training – providing a long-term strategy for fighting hunger and poverty."

More than 5 million Americans have already donated generously to support Salesian Missions work in more than 130 countries around the globe. With the projected food crisis, Salesian Missions needs the support of generous Americans more than ever to give hope and combat hunger for Africa’s poorest youth.

Salesian Missions is headquartered in New Rochelle, NY. The mission of the U.S.-based nonprofit Catholic organization is to raise funds for its international programs that serve youth and families in poor communities around the globe. The Salesian missionaries are made up of priests, brothers and sisters, as well as laypeople – all dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries, helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion. To date, more than 5 million Americans have contributed financially to this work.