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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

World food day 2018 - Strengthening Global Food Security and Nutrition

The progress we made in accomplishing the aims (SDG 2030) and the challenges for an effective  food security program

World food day 2018 - Hunger & Malnutrition
Background
On 16th October 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was founded with a prime objective of strengthening the global solidarity in the struggle against hunger and malnutrition. In addition, there are other goals which include fostering public awareness on the problem of hunger, encouraging agricultural production and rural participation especially women in the activities influencing living conditions. As an organization, FAO is navigating with the vision of 2030 which ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all and eliminating all forms of malnutrition (known as Sustainable Development Goal – SDG)  which was in force from the year 2016. Since then, FAO diligently publishes the progress towards the goal post along with the milestones. We are bringing the key takeaways in terms of progress and challenges for an effective food security program

Key progress areas
As the report suggest, the decline in numbers are still alarming and the road is still very long for 2030
Child stunting (related to child growth) - There has been some progress regarding stunting as the number of stunted children has decreased from 165.2 million in 2012 to 150.8 million in 2017, a 9 percent decline.

Exclusive breastfeeding - In 2017, 40.7 percent of infants below six months of age were exclusively breastfed in comparison to 36.9 percent in 2012. The trend is encouraging in Africa and Asia compared to those in Northern America where only 26.4 percent of infants fewer than six months receive breast milk exclusively. However, anaemia (deficiency of red cells or of haemoglobin in the blood) is still prevalent among women of reproductive age.

Wasting (low weight for height)As per the analysis 12.6% of all deaths among children of under 5 age group are related to wasting and as on 2017, there are 7.5% of children under 5 who are affected with this disorder.

Child overweight and adult obesity - The prevalence of obesity among adults in the world has been increasing steadily between 1975 and 2016 – and at an accelerated pace over the past decade. Adult obesity rates continue to rise each year, from 11.7 percent in 2012 to 13.2 percent in 2016. This means that in 2017 more than one in eight adults, or more than 672 million, in the world is obese. This is a worrying development.

Impediments to the progress 

Growing hunger and undernourishment - The worlds hunger is on rise and the absolute number of undernourished people, i.e. that facing chronic food deprivation, has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016.

Impact of climate on food security & nutrition - Exposure of countries to climate variability and extremes is also a rising trend. In 2017, the average of the PoU in countries with high exposure to climate shocks was 3.2 percentage points above that of countries with low or no exposure. Even more striking is that countries with high exposure have more than doubled the number of undernourished people as those without high exposure.

Loss of Agriculture due to Natural disasters
Source: http://www.fao.org
Extreme events and food crises - The occurrence of climate disasters, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms, has doubled since the early 1990s, with an average of 213 of these events occurring every year during the period of 1990–2016, which has greater impact in harming agricultural productivity contributing to shortfalls in food availability resulting food price hikes and reduce people’s access to food. Further, severe drought critically challenges agriculture and food production. If a drought is severe and widespread enough, it can potentially affect national food availability and access, as well as nutrition, thus magnifying the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) nationally.

Access the full report here (Courtesy: http://www.fao.org) 

Conclusion
While it is understood that there are dependent factors like poverty, health, clean water, sanitation and climate conditions to achieve the goals of SDG 2030, it is imperative that local governments in the respective nations quickly embrace and align with this global objective to eradicate these primitive problems. Any individual emerging nations can combat these issues with holistic and synergistic approaches and contribute significantly to their food security programs. Moreover, these challenges are often witnessed in the rural regions and hence sensitization workshops to disseminate the required information like lifestyle changes, reduced wastage of food and usage of plastic, conserving water, sustainable agricultural practices etc., would accentuate the nations commitment towards strengthening food security and nutrition. 

Although, there is a long way to achieve the milestone of eradication of hunger and undernourishment, with concerted efforts from the key stakeholders (i.e. industry, regulators and citizens') one can anticipate a remarkable progress in the years to come.

Nothing can stop a good cause!!

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Issue 24

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