The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has rallied support for smallholder farmers while calling for global action to improve the systems that produce and distribute food.
A statement issued by the WFP on 16 October 2020 in commemoration of World Food Day 2020, explained that improvement in food production and distribution systems across the world is necessary to ensure that countries “can better withstand shocks including the COVID-19 pandemic that can spark alarming surges in the level of hunger in the world.”
The statement also noted the need for a concerted action to improve agricultural production while enhancing global supply chains and ending food waste.
It said there must be reflected in this year’s World Food Day theme: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together”.
In many countries, the socio-economic effects of the pandemic – particularly loss of earnings and remittances – are heightening existing threats linked to conflict and climate change.
The number of acutely hungry people in the world could increase by more than 100 million this year, according to WFP estimates.
For, particularly, fragile countries, a slide toward famine is a real risk, WFP said.
“‘The world produces enough food for everyone, so, it’s a problem not of scarcity but of access to nutritious and affordable food,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said.
“Smallholder farmers in developing nations need support so they can grow crops in a more sustainable way, then store and transport their produce to markets, and ultimately improve their own livelihoods. When food moves from the farm, along the supply chain and onto people’s plates in a fair and efficient way, then everyone benefits,” he added.
WFP, which last week won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to fight hunger, has unparalleled experience in buying and distributing food.
Every year, WFP increases the amount of food it procures locally from smallholder farmers, providing training in post-harvest storage and in how to access markets.
The aim is to build dynamic food systems which contribute to community-based agricultural growth and the strengthening of national economies.
The WFP stressed on the need for countries to collectively work to combat hunger worldwide.
“We need to be more intentional to work together, to work for peace and to build back better after the pandemic.
“The goal is still Zero Hunger as well as achieving all other Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” WFP Ghana Country Director, Rukia Yacoub emphasised.
According to the statement, another vital element in improving food systems is stopping food waste.
WFP’s #StopTheWaste 2020 campaign highlights simple steps which everyone can take to prevent the huge amounts of food which are wasted each day.
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