World Food Day (16 October)

World Food Day (16 October) :

World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In 1980, 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” (resolution 35/70 of 5 December 1980).

UN resolution adopted on World Food Day

World Food Day Origins

In November 1979, World Food Day (WFD) was launched by FAO’s Member Countries on its 20th General Conference. The Hungarian Delegation, headed by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Pal Romany had been instrumental at the 20th Session of the FAO Conference and floated the idea of celebrating the WFD across the world. Since then this day has been observed every year in more than 150 countries, highlighting awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.

Objectives of World Food Day

* Encourage to increase agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, transnational and non-governmental initiatives to this end.
* Catapult economic and technical coordination among developing nations.
* Enhance the participation of rural people, particularly women and the under privileged strata, in decisions and events impacting their living conditions.
* Augment public awareness of the issue of hunger in the world.
* Advocate the journey of technologies to the developing world.
* Revitalize international and national solidarity in the combat against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and attract attention to accomplishments in food and agricultural development.

World Food Day Themes

World Food Day has disseminated different themes every year, in order to highlight areas needed to take action and provide a generic focus, since 1981.
The Actual Scenario

With an estimated increase of 105 million hungry people in the year 2009, there are now 1.02 billion malnourished individual across the world, viz. almost one sixth of entire human race is suffering from hunger.

Despite the significance of agriculture as the major factor in the economies of many developing countries, this prominent sector is often starved of investment. In particular, foreign aid to agriculture has displayed drastic declines over the past 20 years.

At a time when the news is flooded with global economic crisis, the world needs to be jolted that not everyone is privileged to work in offices and factories. The small farms and rural areas of the world is the worst hit by this crisis and a huge percentage of hungry people live and work there.

Poverty and hunger are interlinked. And recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization manifests that there are more than 1 billion people around the world who suffer from hunger everyday. This report is not only alarming but also disheartening to think that while some of us waste food on the table, a big number of people have not a single chunk of food on their plate.

This startling facts and poor situation among impoverished nations is the main concern of the entire world.

Factors led to Food Crisis

Many countries have witnessed the outbreak of hungry people every day with less opportunity to feed due to some of the basic factors like enhanced food prices and energy. Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Cameroon, Malaysia, Ivory and Madagascar, Indonesia Coast, Ethiopia and many more countries have witnessed the same crisis at some point of time in their history.

In an internal memo that was leaked to the media, the UN believes that international concern for this situation is one of the biggest concerns and that the whole infrastructure of emergency food aid is unable to cope with the crisis. A specific contingency plans to cater to the needs of all urban population has to be launched.

The Deteriorating Situation

The flow of food supply is at its minimum level in twenty years, while the number of hungry people is increasing, due to the combined repercussion of high food prices, the global financial crunch and increasingly severe weather fluctuations.

The famous hunger riots that took place in various countries around the world these days have sounded all the alarms.

What are the factors and most yet more importantly who are the culprits? Undoubtedly, the global leaders of all the major developed and emerging countries are completely aware of the situation.
Reduction of rations

Last year, WFP set a goal to feed 108 million people in 74 countries across the world, but a major budget deduction has prompted a cut down of rations to hungry people in some countries, and program suspensions in others.  So far, donors have contributed around US$2.9 billion towards WFP’s 2009 budget of US$6.7 billion.

WFP has fed about 10 percent of the world’s population till date but last year, for the first time, the organization could not reach that set target.  As an agency that caters to emergency needs, WFP had also met many unexpected demands in 2009, such as the aid to the recent floods in the Philippines
How to Combat?

And perhaps the topic that can help fighting hunger is educating the parents and the society as well with responsible parenting. Though the Church and the state have disagreements with it, it is imperative to give a try to educate and literate the people.

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