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World Food Day: The Need To Reduce Food Loss And Waste


World Food Day provides an occasion to highlight the plight of 870 million undernourished people in the world as well as the need for reducing food loss and waste.

About World Food Day: 16 October 2019

World Food Day is celebrated across 150 countries in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945.

The General Assembly endorsed observance of the day in consideration of the fact that “food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity”. Now, annually, FAO member states commemorate World Food Day by organising public awareness campaigns that support the National Programme for Food and Nutrition Security. And as a member state, South Africa also commemorates the day through various activities aimed at highlighting food and nutrition security.

Lost food:

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, 14% of food is being lost from post-harvest up to the retail level, reports the FAO in their Food Loss Index. What’s more, it is said that an estimated 1/3 of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste.

It is said that if we want to reduce food loss and waste, then we need to know where it occurs and where interventions will be the most impactful. The FAO established that food is ultimately lost at the farm, in storage, in transit, in the shop and at home.

World Food Day in South Africa:

In October 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) declared October as “Food Security Month”. The objective of this declaration was to create a platform for heightening public awareness on issues pertaining to food security in the country.

The South African government also went out to set their objectives for World Food Day, which includes:

  • To inform South Africans on the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security.
  • To heighten public awareness on issues such as absence and scarcity of food in the country and to strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
  • To promote food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, trans-national and non-governmental initiatives.
  • To encourage research and technology development for the development of symbiotic ecological food production systems to ensure sustainable food production.
  • To enhance the participation of rural people, particularly women and the underprivileged in decisions and events impacting their living conditions.
  • To heighten public awareness on the government programmes aimed at halving hunger in South Africa.
  • To raise awareness of the public regarding the contribution of indigenous forests to food security and nutrition.
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