October 16 marks World Food Day, and the United Nations has an ambitious goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030 – but is it really doable?
Chronic hunger and malnutrition are on the rise again globally. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 815 million people in the world go to bed hungry each night. Considering this, it may seem ambitious to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. Yet this is the theme of this year’s FAO World Food Day, celebrated annually on 16 October.
Due to factors such as conflict, climate and the economy, tackling malnutrition is growing increasingly complicated. However the ISO believes that food security and nutrition can make great strides when countries, institutions and people all work together.
FAO works directly with farmers, fishers and others in agriculture to build their knowledge and resilience. They have created more than 1600 International Standards for the food production sector that directly help to end world hunger by creating confidence in food products, improving agricultural methods and promoting sustainable and ethical purchasing. Some of their key suggestions as to ways producers can reduce hunger include factors like adapting to climate change, seeking out new technology and promoting education.
FAO also supports global efforts to achieve Zero Hunger at international, regional and national levels. In South Sudan, FAO is helping farmers to control Fall Armyworm (FAW), which feeds primarily on maize. FAO has launched a mobile application to help farmers identify FAW, report the levels of infestation and share information on natural enemies that could help to curb its spread.
Meanwhile, in Kyrgyzstan, FAO is helping to restore the collapsed fisheries sector, and in Egypt FAO has partnered with university experts to train grape and tomato farmers in ways to reduce post-harvest food losses.
Of course, governments, companies and farmers cannot end hunger alone. Everyone must play their part by using resources more wisely and adopting more sustainable lifestyles. Even just reducing household food waste and sourcing locally where possible can make an difference in efforts to achieve Zero Hunger.