by Jorge Rojas-Ruiz, Humanitas Global
With 842 million people suffering from hunger and millions more suffering from malnutrition, the need for sustainable food systems is urgent. Food systems, encompassing every step of food production from farm to fork, “has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods – and therefore on consumers’ ability to choose healthy diets.” Given Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) statics below, the urgency for sustainable food systems is evident:
- 842 million people in the world are hungry
- One out of every four children under the age of five is stunted.
- 1.4 billion people are overweight. Of these, one-third are obese.
- Malnutrition costs the global economy $3.5 trillion per year or $500 per person.
- Agriculture must become more nutrition-sensitive, working to produce more nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes over just staples.
This year's theme for World Food Day, “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” calls on everyone from consumers to policy makers (and in-between) to recognize where they can play a role in making those systems healthier – for people, and for the planet - and take action.
Now is the opportune time to raise global awareness on the importance of sustainable food systems and ensure that people have access to nutritious diets today while also ensuring a food-secure future for generations to come. During a time in which 60% of the world’s ecosystems are being degraded or used unsustainably, thereby posing serious threats to food security and nutrition, it is important to join forces in promoting smart choices and sustainability.
To learn more about this year’s theme watch World Food Day’s 2013 video on the importance of food system sustainability. You can also learn more by checking out FAO’s PERSPECTIVES, a series of essays from thought-leaders on the World Food Day theme that provide the context for informed discussions about the many pathways to ending world hunger.