On 16 October the world will celebrate the 40th Annual World Food Day. This is a day meant to raise awareness to the growing number of hungry around the world, as well as celebrate the transformation of agri-food systems and positive steps to achieving SDG2, Zero Hunger. With more than 150 nations celebrating each year, World Food Day is one of the most popular UN holidays.
While we hope people will take a moment to celebrate this day there are some sobering facts that need to be acknowledged as to why we celebrate this day.
• More than 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet – this is almost 40% of the world’s population!
• Smallholder farmers produce more than 33% of the world’s food, despite challenges including poverty and lack of access to resources.
• 14% of the world’s food is lost due to inadequate harvest and an additional 17% is wasted at the consumer level.
• Almost 2 billion people are overweight or obese due to a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
• The world’s agri-food systems currently employee more than 1 billion people, more than any other sector.
• 10% of people are affected by unsafe food supplies contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.
So, with these staggering statistics, how can you celebrate World Food Day? By bringing awareness! World Food Day is usually linked to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) conference, which has just wrapped on 14 October. This is a conference brings Member States and stakeholders from around the world together to discuss the status of the globes food and agriculture systems. In addition to CFS, 2021 saw the first ever Food Systems Summit take place in September. Hundreds of side events and dialogues took place around these two major events to spread the word on the importance of the work that needs to be done, particularly the world continues to face the impacts of COVID-19 and its implications on our food systems. It is time for us to build back better!
The spotlight that has been put on our food systems is just beginning to brighten and World Food Day will continue to raise awareness on the status of our food systems, and the work that needs to be done at all levels. It can start with you!
Engage on social media by using #WorldFoodDay and #FoodHeroes to show how you will be raising awareness and celebrating World Food Day 2021! Happy World Food Day!