World Food Day celebrated


The World Food Day, which fell on October 16, was a unique day for Sri Lanka and countries all over the world to create awareness to strengthen the message of ‘zero hunger’ and the importance of food for all. This year, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) of the of the United Nations (UN) under the auspices of Minister of Agriculture, Duminda Dissanayaka celebrated the significant day at Institute of Post-Harvest Technology, Anuradhapura.

This year’s World Food Day theme was ‘Social Protection and Agriculture; breaking the cycle of rural poverty’. Social protection is a blend of policies, programmes and interventions that aim at protecting poor, food-insecure and malnourished children and adults, to uplift them out of chronic hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Social protection also improves people’s access to healthcare and other social services, enabling them to sustainably provide for themselves and their family member.

"Many think that hunger is about too many people and too little food. But that’s not true, today the world produces 17% more food per person than 30 years ago" said Ismail Omer, Representative of WFP Sri Lanka. "Our planet produces enough food to feed every child, woman and man. Hunger roots lie in inequalities in access to resources. Farmers in poor countries – the people who grow the food the world relies on – don’t have the access to the recourse they need to thrive. Social protection is the answer to this, as it improves people’s access to food and other social services. WFP stays committed in ensuring that no man, woman or child go to bed in hunger".

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the UN and FAO, and the 60th anniversary since Sri Lanka became a member state of the UN. This is also a significant year for international development as it makes the end of the Millennium Development Goals, and the launch of the 17 Sustainable Development Goal (also known as Global Goals).

Since the launch of the MDGs in year 2000, Sri Lanka has reduced poverty from 22.7 per cent in 2002 to 6.7 per cent in 2012-2013. However it is important to note that Sri Lanka has many more challenges ahead: poverty levels are highest in the estate sector at 10.9%; income inequality remains a concern; and reducing the proportion of underweight children remains a policy priority. To overcome such concerns, WFP and FAO are now gearing up to work with the Government of Sri Lanka to achieve ‘Sustainable Development Goal 2: No Hunger’, working towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture by 2030.

"In order to achieve zero hunger, we have to work together to ensure that the very way our food is grown, stored, transported, traded, sold, marketed and consumed is fair and efficient, and that we have sustainable consumption and production approaches in place", said Beth Crawford, FAO Representative in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

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