Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1963's Freedom From Hunger Stamps

Hunger has been an issue that mankind has battled forever. Whether caused by localized climate conditions such as drought, or socio-political events such as war, hunger is a surprisingly pervasive and tenacious problem, even in today's age.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was created to assist in defeating hunger. It was organized just after World War II, in October, 1945, to help address the worldwide famine caused by the war and its aftermath.

In 1956, Dr. Binay Ranjan Sen, an Indian diplomat, was made Director General of the organization. He brought with him his experience in working a sustained famine in Bengal, India, in 1943, which cost the lives of up to 3 million people.

Dr. Sen advocated the FAO's Freedom From Hunger campaign in 1960, stating that half of the world's population was malnourished. After a few years of discussion, the United Nations adopted the campaign, and in 1963 the World Food Congress was held in the United States.

As part of the campaign, 140 postal administrations agreed to promote the Freedom From Hunger campaign in 1963. This combined effort make it one of the largest stamp issuing causes in postal history.

Several of the stamps issued in 1963 for the Freedom From Hunger campaign are illustrated nearby.

In 1963, countries with ties to the United Kingdom, as either former colonies or overseas territories, such as the Falkland Islands, issued their Freedom From Hunger stamps using the same basic design. It features icons of cattle, fish, poultry, and grains in the upper right corner and a view of Queen Elizabeth II in the upper right corner.

Nepal issued their stamp for the Freedom From Hunger campaign using similar iconography. It also features a mechanical tractor, which is indispensable for the cultivation of food grains.

The United States issue features a prominent stylized head of wheat. Along with the Freedom From Hunger caption at the bottom of the stamp, the U.S. highlighted its contributions to the Food For Peace program in which it had been active during the prior 10 years.

The Freedom From Hunger stamp issues are not expensive. Many of them are well under $1 (USD) in mint, never hinged condition. This would make a nice specialty collection for someone willing to collect all of the stamps.


Tony Finch said...

Could someone please tell me whether all these Freedom from Hunger stamps were issued on the same day - 21st March 1963? In particular, was this the issue date for the New Hebrides set??
Tony Finch

Anonymous said...

No they were not all issued on the same date, although a lot of them were issued on 21 March 1963. Another big set of countries issued on 4 June 1963, but on the list I see also 3 May 1963, 21/4/63, 2/9/63, 1/6/63, etc.
The UN issued on 22/3/64.
The New Hebrides issue date was 2 September 1963.
My grandfather left me a FOA album with every single stamp in this series that was issued.