WORLD FOOD DAY 2021
This year’s world food day is centered around the theme, Our Actions are our Future: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life. Now we may be wondering what this means and what it has to do with World Food Day. Let’s look at some of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) that align with the theme.
Sustainable Development Goal 2, ‘Zero hunger’ which means, end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture has some of its 2030 target goal of;
- Ending hunger and ensuring access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
- Doubling the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular, women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
- Ensuuring sustainable food production systems and implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production; that help maintain ecosystems; that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
- Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services; technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.
- Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.
The SDGoal 12 says responsible consumption and production which means ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. This goal has 2030 targets like
- By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
- By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
- By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
- Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
These goals with their respective targets are aimed at having a good food security system and a sustainable agri-food system.
An agri-food system is a complex term that may seem far from our reality, but do you know our lives depend on them? Every time you eat, you participate in the system. The food we choose and the way we produce, prepare, cook and store it make us an integral and active part of the way in which an agri-food system works.
A sustainable agri-food system is one in which a variety of sufficient, nutritious and safe foods is available at an affordable price to everyone, and nobody is hungry or suffers from any form of malnutrition. The shelves are stocked at the market or food store, but less food is wasted and the food supply chain is more resilient to shocks such as extreme weather, price spikes or pandemics, all while limiting, rather than worsening, environmental degradation or climate change. In fact, sustainable agri-food systems deliver food security and nutrition for all, without compromising the economic, social and environmental bases, for generations to come. The five stages in the agri-food system include: Producers, Handling & Storage, Processing & Packaging, Distribution & retail, Consumption.
Agri-food systems face a range of challenges, from feeding a growing population to containing the environmental impact of food production. But because food systems are so complex, it’s hard to solve one problem without making another one worse. A policy that lowers food prices and makes staples more affordable, for example, could depress farmers’ incomes and cause hardship for smallholder farms.
Why should we care about the Agri-food system?
Apart from the fact that this system provides job/income opportunities for a whole lot of people, including farmers, traders, food distributors, etc., the way we produce, consume and sadly waste food exacts a heavy toll on our planet, putting unnecessary pressure on natural resources, the environment and climate.
Today, an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste. That’s equal to about 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and grains that either never leave the farm, get lost or spoiled during distribution, or are thrown away in hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, or home kitchens. It could be enough calories to feed every undernourished person on the planet.
But wasted food isn’t just a social or humanitarian concern, it’s an environmental one. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.
Also, an increasing number of countries are facing growing levels of acute food insecurity which is reversing years of development gains. The COVID-19 pandemic gave a bit of an insight on how much we need to work on the agri- food systems everywhere in the world.
COVID-19 impacts have led to severe and widespread increase in global food insecurity, affecting vulnerable households in almost every country.
The COVID-19 pandemic created new types of food insecurity. These are focused not on food supply, but rather on the indirect effects of mobility restrictions and social distancing measures on household purchasing power and access to food.
How can we make things better?
Over the years, people have explored different means of addressing food-system challenges; however, each approach has fallen short in different ways. But solutions do exist, governments need to both repurpose old policies and adopt new ones that foster the sustainable production of affordable nutritious foods and promote farmer participation. Policies should promote equality and learning, drive innovation, boost rural incomes, and build climate resilience. They also should be backed by a major increase in responsible investment and strong support to reduce negative environmental and social impacts across sectors.
In all these, OUR ACTIONS ARE OUR FUTURE, we need to also help by influencing what is being produced through our increased demand for sustainable nutritious foods, and at the same time be more sustainable in our daily actions, by reducing food loss and waste.
We also have the responsibility to spread the word, build awareness about the importance of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
So let’s spread the word for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life by sharing this article.
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