World Food Day!

Last week, I got a call requesting to give a talk on the occasion of World Food day. I was excited and thrilled to have got the opportunity to stand before a gathering and give a presentation. World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16th October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. Each year, a theme is given and the theme for 2013 is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”.  

The theme made me ‘THINK’! My excitement and thrill vanished!! Not because I could not give a talk about it, but the fact that million across the world suffer from food scarcity, hunger, unavailability of clean drinking water, malnutrition and infections..the list goes on…………….. !

 On a daily basis, most of the time, we are so busy in our own world and we never think of these global problems. Yes! but, we do mention about it here and there… ‘its hot this year compared to last year’, ‘no rains this year!’, ‘oh! Farmer’s suicide story in news paper again??’ ‘global warming’, ‘Malnutrition in school going children’, ‘contaminated water in taps’…………the list again goes on…………..!!

World Food Day is celebrated in order to create awareness on existing global problems and issues that needs action. This day is celebrated worldwide by countries under United Nations. This year’s theme is related to farming system, how sustainable it can be in order to make countries food secure.

A healthy, sustainable food system is one that focuses on Environmental Health, Economic Vitality, and Human Health and Social Equity.

Food Security means that all people at all times have physical and economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate foods, which are produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner, and that people are able to make informed decisions about their food choices.

Food Security also means that the people who produce our food are able to earn a decent living wage, growing, catching, producing, processing, transporting, retailing, and serving food.

At the core of food security is access to healthy food and optimal nutrition for all.

Households are food secure when they have year-round access to the amount and variety of safe foods that their members need to lead active and healthy lives.

Food and water insecurity exist because of natural and human-made factors. Natural factors include the amount of rainfall and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions.

Man-made factors include government decisions about supporting agriculture, the amount of money spent on infrastructure to support agriculture and food distribution, and the increase in bio fuel production.

All of this is important because lives are at stake, and also because in the future water will be a major source of conflict between regions and countries.

Earlier, people focused on getting ‘Roti, Kapda and Makaan’…but now, “Health’ also is added to it! Food security and Nutrition is possible by achieving the following four components:

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I remember a few years back when I had given talks to women working for KMF (Karnataka Co-Operative Milk Federation), they had mentioned that all the milk that is produced at home is sold retaining very little for themselves. This is one reason we gave nutrition education for such women. Milk, an excellent protein source, though produced at home is not retained and fed to growing children just because an extra litre of milk sold can add on to the family income! And hence households need to be food secure, simply meaning they get to eat what they produce and also have enough money to purchase other food items required to lead a healthy life.

Investing in smallholder women and men is an important way to increase food security and nutrition for the poorest, as well as food production for local and global markets.

Better use of agricultural biodiversity can contribute to more nutritious diets, enhanced livelihoods for farming communities and more resilient and sustainable farming systems.

Having vegetable gardens, rotation of crops and use of organic manure in the fields, recycling the food waste will help to increase the production. We all are aware of the pesticide contamination in foods. Organic farming is a means to produce better crops thus avoiding contamination from harmful pesticides.

It is high time we rethink how we grow our food, share it and consume our food!

It is said, if done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centered rural development and protecting the environment.

Individual effort is needed to solve many problems in this whole wide world! Problems are many but, if dealt one by one with a collective effort there sure is going to be a change. Conserving what exists in order to gift it to the future generation should be our motto.

Food waste or food loss is food material that is discarded or unable to be used. The causes of wasted food are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, and retailing. As of 2011, 1.3 billion tons of food, about one third of the global food production, is lost or wasted annually. Loss and wastage occurs on all steps in the food supply chain. In developed countries much food – about 100 kilograms per person and year – is wasted at the consumption stage. These figures should not be surprising to us as we all have seen and known how food is wasted in India! Parties, weddings, functions of various kinds contribute to food waste when excess is estimated and prepared. Minimizing such food losses is always in our hands…. whether in functions or at home!

I remember, during my childhood, whenever we used to have gatherings at home and the food was served, we were told ‘Kids one who eats all the food that is served and finishes first will get a prize’! This line was repeated all the time we gathered, year after year and only when I grew up I understood its meaning. It simply meant “No wasting Food’ and the Prize is not just for the one who finished first……..but for all! 🙂

This habit of not wasting food is developed in us since childhood (isn’t it?) Then, does this habit help the world in some way or the other??! Yes of course, it does help! By not wasting food we are also decreasing the utilization of extra produce that can be used to feed more than 925 million people who are hungry and additional 2 billion people who are expected by the year 2050!!

A simple act of ours can be of a big help globally! By this thought, I regained my excitement and was thrilled to give a presentation to a gathering consisting of young participants, the future generation who are responsible for conserving our Universe! 🙂

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Dr.Sowmya Rao

Consultant Nutritionist

 

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About raosowmya

Hello enthusiastic readers I am Dr.Sowmya, a Consultant Nutritionist with more than ten years of experience in the field of Food Science and Nutrition. It gives me great pleasure to discuss some of the things related to food , nutrition and health that i notice in my day to day teaching and research life with all you enthusiastic readers. Many scientific journals/books/research articles and reports are sources of information that aid me to write an article in this Blog. Credit goes to all researchers worldwide and also to you readers for reading and spreading the information you gather from this blog. Many images have been used in the blog which are personally photographed or downloaded from search engines. welcome to my blog...enjoy reading... :)
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