Every year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) celebrates World Food Day on the 16th of October, with events scheduled in over 150 Countries around the world, now specifically showing commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero Hunger.
What we learnt yesterday it’s not surprising, nor was it unknown: we do have enough food for everybody. Although we need to increase the production of food as world population grows, as a matter of fact, hunger is not a mere problem of scarcity of food, but is a wider and multifaceted issue that involves many interrelated aspects.
First of all, nearly 800 million people went hungry on the planet last year because they simply could not afford to feed themselves or they did not have the means to grow their own food; in addition, wars and unstable political and social contexts contribute to worsen the situation, whilst environmental disaster such as droughts and floods generate periods of famine. Moreover, according to a World Food Programme report, even in more stable contexts, food systems can still be subject to poor communications, transport and storage facilities. At a first glance, all of these factors seem not to be related to hunger, yet they’re root causes of it, mostly if we consider that a third of the worldwide food production is just wasted or lost.
One fact that needs to be taken into account is that 60% of this 800 million people suffering from hunger are women. This means that hunger has to be fought also through women’s empowerment. Considering that around 45% of infant deaths are related to malnutrition, failing in empowering women is just a part of a vicious circle.
Out of the 129 countries monitored by FAO, 72 have already achieved the target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015. This means that the #ZeroHunger goal is actually possible to reach – and vital to the achievement of the 17 SDGs. This can only be done by fostering and creating sustainable and resilient, climate-compatible agriculture and food systems that deliver for both the people and the planet.