World Food Day, proclaimed in 1979 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), was celebrated on October 16. The objective of this day is to raise awareness among the peoples of the world about the global food problem, with the aim of strengthening solidarity in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Food insecurity is the acute, seasonal or chronic insufficient food intake, seriously affecting people’s health and development. Therefore, achieving food security would be the stable availability of sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a healthy life.
FAO OBJECTIVES ON WORLD FOOD DAY
- Promote the participation of rural populations, especially women and the most affected groups, in all decisions and activities that affect their living conditions.
- To foster a sense of international solidarity in the fight against food insecurity.
- Promote the transfer of technologies worldwide to ensure their development.
- Increase public awareness of the problem of food insecurity and the global crisis it poses.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOOD INSECURITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT?
The current food system produces between a quarter and a third of global emissions, due in part to deforestation, land use change, fertilizer and manure emissions, methane from livestock, and through the food processing, refrigeration and transportation supply chain.
We could say those food strategies that do not consider sustainability end up damaging the environment, food quality and people, leaving many regions without resources. Climate change is damaging food security, as fisheries, agriculture and livestock have been affected by rising temperatures and by a higher frequency of natural disasters.
SOME FACTS ABOUT FOOD INSECURITY
According to FAO:
About 3.1 billion people, or nearly 40% of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet.
Some 193 million people required humanitarian assistance for their survival in 2021.
In 2021, for 139 million people, some form of conflict was the main driver of food insecurity in 24 countries.
Despite the fact that 828 million people suffer from hunger, 1 in 8 adults is obese and it is increasing in all regions of the world.
People living in rural areas are the most affected by food insecurity, a total of 80% of the extremely poor.
Two-thirds of those suffering the highest levels of food insecurity are rural food producers. That is the people who are responsible for growing the food we eat.
Women are 15% more likely than men to be food insecure.
80% of terrestrial biodiversity is conserved by indigenous peoples, yet they are the ones who suffer the highest rates of poverty, displacement, and malnutrition.
About 160 million children are victims of child labor, 70% of them in agricultural work.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Although it should be clarified that we cannot solve food insecurity with our consumption alone, since this is a problem in which governments around the world must intervene, we can do our bit and help to ensure that no one is left behind in the goal that all people achieve better nutrition. Everything counts and everything adds up.
We can improve food systems by being more responsible and empathetic with our daily actions and choices. Some of FAO’s recommendations are:
- Plan and buy only what is necessary to avoid food waste.
- Store food properly so that it does not end up in the garbage.
- Reduce consumption of resource-intensive products.
- Reduce consumption of products with excessive packaging.
- Choose seasonal products.
- Choose local products.