- World Food Day was launched by Food and Agricultural Organization
- More Than 150 countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of FAO
- This year's theme is - Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.
New Delhi: The World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 each year, to honour Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which was founded on the same day in 1945. The main objective of World Food Day is that food is a basic and fundamental human right. With respect to this objective, the day aims at promoting awareness about food, nutrition and healthy eating practices across the world and urge people to take action against world hunger and unfair allocation of resources. This year, as many as 150 countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of FAO.
Also Read: World Food Day: Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition’s Lawrence Haddad Talks About India’s Malnutrition Crisis
Theme For World Food Day 2020
The theme for this year is ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.’ which has been decided owing to the unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
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, says the FAO.
The impact of the pandemic has affected countries around the world, with the World Food Day calling for global solidarity to heal those most vulnerable and to help make food systems more sustainable for them.
Food systems need to be made more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers, says the organisation.
According to FAO, this will require improved social protection schemes and new opportunities offered through digitalisation and e-commerce, but also more sustainable agricultural practices that preserve the Earth’s natural resources, our health, and the climate.
Also Read: “Nutrition Is More Than Food, More Than Hunger,” UNICEF India’s Arjan De Wagt Talks About The Impact Of COVID-19 On Poshan Abhiyan
Impact of COVID-19 on Food Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work, as per FAO.
The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year 2020, it says.
Furthermore, the organisation stresses that nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods. Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, for most, means no food, or, at best, less food and less nutritious food.
The pandemic has been affecting the entire food system and has laid bare its fragility. Border closures, trade restrictions and confinement measures have been preventing farmers from accessing markets, including for buying inputs and selling their produce, and agricultural workers from harvesting crops, thus disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets. The pandemic has decimated jobs and placed millions of livelihoods at risk. As breadwinners lose jobs, fall ill and die, the food security and nutrition of millions of women and men are under threat, with those in low-income countries, particularly the most marginalised populations, which include small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples, are hardest hit, explains FAO.
Also Read: How Has COVID-19 Impacted The Nutritional Status Of India’s Children? An On-Ground Report From Non-Profit Organisation CRY
History of World Food Day
The member countries of the Food and Agriculture Organization established the World Food Day at the 20th General Conference in November 1979 and began celebrating World Food Day on OCTOBER 16 October 1981.
The UN Assembly urged governments and international, national and local organisations to contribute to celebrating World Food Day. Since 1981, World Food Day 2020 is held every year.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.