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World Food Day! Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future

by Public Health Update

World Food Day promotes global awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) designated 16 October as World Food Day in 1979.

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The theme for World Food Day 2020 is Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.


  • More than 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.
  • About 135 million people across 55 countries experience acute hunger requiring urgent food, nutrition, and livelihoods assistance.
  • The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, significantly increasing the demand for food.
  • Approximately 14% of the food produced for consumption globally each year is lost before reaching the wholesale market.
  • If our food systems are not transformed, undernourishment and malnutrition will greatly increase by 2050. The consequences could worsen due to income inequality, unemployment, or poor access to services.
  • More than 3 billion people in the world lack access to the Internet, most of them in rural and remote areas.
  • Smallholder farmers need greater access to innovation, technology, finance and training to improve their livelihoods. Intensified food production, combined with climate change, is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity. Currently, only nine plant species account for 66 % of total food crop production.
  • Poor diets and sedentary lifestyles have led to soaring obesity rates, not only in developed countries, but also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. No region is exempt.


What can countries do?

  • Meet the immediate needs of vulnerable populations through emergency food assistance and improved, more accessible, social safety nets.
  • Support the dissemination and use of data.
  • Support urgent measures to increase food availability from smallholder farmers.
  • Establish evidence-based policies and legal support for sustainable food systems, such as regulations on nutrition, decent employment, and land resources.
  • Work together to make food systems more resilient to volatility and climate shocks.
  • Ensure that sustainable food systems deliver affordable healthy diets for the poor and decent livelihoods for food system workers.
  • Encourage more climate-smart and environment-friendly practices to preserve natural resources, promote dietary health, support climate regulation, and slow the biodiversity destruction that can contribute to disease outbreaks.
  • Prioritize innovation and digitalization and work to close the digital divide.
  • In times of crisis, consider government procurement schemes to buy agricultural commodities from small producers to establish or increase stocks of non-perishable items.
  • When battling health and economic crises with aggressive public spending, adopt measures to avoid food price volatility.
  • Practice global solidarity or international cooperation to avoid devastating effects on smallholder farmers in countries with very limited fiscal capacities.
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What can we all do?

We all have a role to play to realize the vision of a world without hunger and malnutrition. We must not let sustainable habits fall by the wayside in times of crisis. We can make healthy food choices. We can do our part to reduce waste. We can advocate for governments, enterprises, and organizations to share knowledge and support sustainable, resilient food systems and livelihoods. Together, we can grow, nourish, and sustain our world.

Time to build back better!

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this challenge, threatening to reverse important gains in food security, nutrition, and livelihoods. Now is the time to address the persistent inequalities and inefficiencies that have continued to plague our food systems, economies and social support structures. Now is the time to build back better.

The COVID-19 global health crisis has been a time to reflect on things we truly cherish and our most basic needs. These uncertain times have made many of us rekindle our appreciation for a thing that some take for granted and many go without: food.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.In a moment like this, it is more important than ever to recognise the need to support our food heroes – farmers and workers throughout the food system – who are making sure that food makes its way from farm to fork even amid disruptions as unprecedented as the current COVID-19 crisis.

Call to action

World Food Day is calling for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the crisis, and to make food systems 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. This will require improved social protection schemes and new opportunities offered through digitalization and e-commerce, but also more sustainable agricultural practices that preserve the Earth’s natural resources, our health, and the climate.

Source of info: Communication tool, World Food Day, FAO.

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