World Food Day is an international day celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security.
Countries, the private sector and civil society need to make sure that our food systems grow a variety of food to nourish a growing population and sustain the planet, together. As countries deal with the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Food Day 2020 highlighted how food and agriculture are an essential part of the COVID-19 response.
With the theme “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future,” World Food Day 2020 called for more resilient and robust agri-food systems and global solidarity – both of which are vital to recovering from this crisis and building back better.
Every year, 150 countries around the world hold events and celebrations to mark World Food Day. This year’s World Food Day is no ordinary day: it marks 75 years since the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was founded. In those years, the world and Eastern and Southern Africa have made great strides in fighting poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
According to the FAO, today total crop production is majorly dependent on only nine plant species. These nine species accounts for 66 per cent of total crop production. This data highlights the fact that we need to grow a variety of food to nourish people. Apart from these nine plant species, there are at least 30 000 edible plants.
The FAO stated that over two billion people do not get to eat safe, nutritious and sufficient food. Hunger eradication becomes more important as the world population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050.
The COVID-19 global health crisis has been a time to reflect on things we truly cherish and our most basic needs. These uncertain times have made many of us rekindle our appreciation for a thing that some take for granted and many go without: food.
Food is the essence of life and the bedrock of our cultures and communities. Preserving access to safe and nutritious food is and will continue to be an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for poor and vulnerable communities, who are hit hardest by the pandemic and resulting economic shocks.
In a moment like this, it is more important than ever to recognize the need to support our food heroes- farmers and workers throughout the food system – who are making sure that food makes its way from farm to fork even amid disruptions as unprecedented as the current COVID-19 crisis, said the FAO.