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news details
Towards Zero Hunger and Sustainability
10/16/2018 10:37:39 PM
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma

Every year World Food Day
is celebrated on 16th of October by millions of people across the globe to honour the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) launched by the United Nations Organisations(UNO) in 1945. This day is celebrated by various organisations concerned with the food security with full enthusiasm and people commit together to eliminate hunger and poverty from society. This day reminds us that we should take action for the eradication of hunger and poverty. This day promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and also to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. World Food Day was established by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) member countries at the Organization's 20th General Conference in 1979.The idea of celebration of World Food Day was given by Dr. Pal Romany, the then the Minister of Hungary for Agriculture and Food. On this day awareness on eradication of hunger and poverty from the society is created among the people. The reasons behind hunger and poverty are acknowledged. The celebration of this day also helps in increasing awareness on the effective agriculture and food policies to mitigate the food problem. This day is also celebrated as the food engineers' day. On this day people make rangoli and perform street plays. On this day several organisations guide the people about the use of safe and healthy food and avoid the fast food. Wasting less, eating better and adopting a sustainable lifestyle are the keys to build a hunger free society. Everyone has a role to play to achieve the zero hunger and institutions and governments can play a significant role to achieve it.
Last year, 821 million people (11 per cent of world population) suffered from hunger across the globe. Most of them were the subsistence farmers living in poor rural areas in the Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Growing rate of undernourished people is not only the big challenge we are facing but other forms of malnutrition have also increased. It has been observed that in 2017 around 1.5 billion people suffered from micro-nutrients deficiencies.2.6 billion people were overweight (30 per cent of global population).Hunger is mainly circumscribed to the specific areas, namely those ravaged by conflicts, droughts and extreme poverty. Obesity is found everywhere and it is increasing alarmingly around the world. The growing rate of obesity is happening at a huge socio-economic cost. Obesity is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases such as heart attack, diabetes, stroke, cancer etc. This year, World Food Day aims to remind us to commit to eradicate all forms of malnutrition and achieve the target of zero hunger. It is estimated that world population will reach to 9 billion by 2050.In a world of 805 million people, one in nine persons lives in chronic hunger. Every year around five millions children under the age of five die due to malnutrition. Out of ten, four children are malnourished in the poor countries of the world. It is estimated that world produces enough food to feed every person on the earth. No one in the world should have the experience of hunger. The theme of World Food Day in 2014 was "Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for earth"; in 2015 the theme was "Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty"; in 2016 the theme was "Climate Change: Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture must too", in 2017 the theme was "Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development" and in 2018 theme is "Our actions are our future. A zero hunger world by 2030 is possible". Most of the themes for this day revolve around agriculture because investment in agriculture supported by education and health can turn around this problem. With the climate change food crisis is a challenge for the entire world. There are more than one billion people in the world who are undernourished. Zero hunger can save the lives of 3.1 million children a year. Well-nourished mothers have healthier babies with a stronger immune system. Proper nutrition in early life could mean 46 per cent more in lifetime earnings. Zero hunger can help to build a safe, prosperous and healthy world. There is need to find new and scientific ways by the farmers to produce quality food and diversify their crops.
Food is a common element for all the human beings on the earth. In India during the marriage ceremonies lot of food is prepared out of which many times lot of food is wasted. Such food can be preserved and distributed among the poor and needy people. A scheme can be launched in which certain percentage of the salaries can be deducted from the employees of various organisations who voluntarily want to donate for food bank and such money can be utilized to feed the poor people. On this day various aspects of agriculture and food security such as biodiversity, climate change etc. are discussed. People are guided to save the food and eliminate food wastage. There is a need to concentrate on zero hunger. With the elimination of under nutrition in the children GDP up to 16.5 per cent can be increased. Iron deficiency in the population can boost 20 percent of the workplace productivity.
India's food grain production has been on the rise despite year-to-year fluctuations since the Green Revolution of the 1960s. After the Green Revolution, increase in production is due to introduction of yield-increasing technologies, supportive services and infrastructure. The country's total food grain production was 50 million tons in 1950-51 which was 284 million tons in 2017-18. Food-sufficiency does not reflect food security for the entire population of the country though it makes the country food secure at the micro-level. Food security needs to manifest in all its dimensions, covering all regions and all economic strata of society. The per capita availability has also been risen during the same period from around 395 grams per day to nearly 463 grams per day despite unabated increase in population. It has been observed that one third (34.3%) children in India are stunted, two children out of five are underweight, three fourth of them are anemic and one out of every three undernourished children in the world is from India. So, there is dire need to mitigate the problem of malnutrition in India. The country appears to be not only self-sufficient in food grains but also having marginally surplus as well. But the issue whether the present level of nutritional intake is adequate or not is still being debated. India has been regularly exporting rice and wheat since December 2000 and the government started offering grains for exports to prune the excessive stock-holding. India has since become the world's second largest exporter of rice and seventh that of wheat. The subsequent drought and increased domestic grain utilization in its wake slowed down the exports but even then the export surplus has continued to persist. India accounts for 33% of the total poor people in the world. Time and again India evolved strategies to tackle rural as well as urban poverty. The real issue is not the availability of food but of its affordability by the poor. There is need to adopt multisectoral approach by involving the Government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), various national and local institutions, civil society organizations, private sectors and citizens. We all need to make collective efforts for a healthy diet. Zero hunger encompasses the eradication of all forms of nutrition. Our objective should not only to feed the people but also to nourish the people. Food system should be transformed in such a way so that all the people can consume safe, healthy and nutritious food.
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