By: Liliana Martínez Lomelí, researcher for Sociología de la Alimentación* (“Sociology of Food”)
October 16th marks World Food Day, an effort of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to promote their main messages and goals for the 2050. The challenges were grouped into 17 goals for the sustainable development of countries working towards a better future.
Although this may sound like sweet dreams or a utopia, it is necessary to take into account the global challenges for a better future because they concern institutions, governments and collective citizens. If the challenges are not detected, it is difficult to attack the problem. To achieve sustainable development, the focus has been placed on issues of inequality, poverty, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. Although they seem like abstract values, the concrete actions towards these issues are intrinsically linked to questions about how to feed ourselves better in order to increase health; these rights must be accessible to everyone; food production must allow better development in all senses.
Each of the 17 goals is addressed as a theme for each year. The multiplicity of issues targeted by the goals, ranging from reducing gender inequality to strengthening institutions, show that the challenges to achieve better nutrition go far beyond nutritional requirements. Remaining in the realm of issues involving food does not resolve the major conflict of health and nutrition in the world, of which poor eating habits are just the tip of the iceberg.
Zero Hunger, the Challenge of 2018 on World Food Day
The challenge chosen for this year by FAO is that of Zero Hunger, which calls us all to rethink the way in which we produce, share and consume food. The way that the FAO proposes to solve this great problem is through the generation of better means of food production. It is also said that if female farmers had better access to resources than men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced to 150 million people. This makes us consider that one must not only think about monetary funds, or institutional supports, but also about the social condition about how food is produced. In addition, an increase in investment through international cooperations, in rural infrastructure and in the development of technology for the use of plants and animals, can increase the productive capacity of less developed countries.
-821 million people suffer from hunger worldwide, although the production of food is sufficient for the entire world population. 60% of the people suffering from hunger are women.
-3.5 trillion USD is the annual cost of poor nutrition for the world economy.
– By 2050, agriculture will need to produce 50% more food and biofuels than it did in 2012 to meet global demand.
-A third of the food produced around the world is lost or wasted.
** Source: FAO
In addition to thinking about the means of production, it is imperative to think about the ways in which these instances can be articulated so that food can reach consumers effectively. Although it is ideal is that foods and ingredients are fresh, transportation logistics may be insufficient. Therefore, another great challenge that involves actors from the private sector is the innovation and development of products that will allow better products to reach more people while maintaining the properties of freshness.
As we can see, this challenge involves participants at every level of the consumer chain. Acknowledging these issues alerts us to the role that all of us as individuals, public or private entities, must take in these matters. Our role can result in economic and social growth and development.
El #DíaMundialdelaAlimentación nos recuerda que todos podemos contribuir a lograr un 🌎 sin hambre y malnutrición.
🍽️No tires comida
👩🌾Apoya a los agricultores👨🌾
🍎Adopta una dieta más saludable y sostenible
— FAO en español (@FAOenEspanol) October 16, 2018
* Liliana Martínez Lomelí is a food sociologist for the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. With a degree in nutrition from the University of Guadalajara. Her studies focus on contemporary food from a multidisciplinary perspective. She has published articles and book chapters, and has been a speaker at international forums in France, Spain, the United States and Mexico.
There are several ways that you can participate against world hunger. Get to know the organization La Tablée de Chefs and its initiatives against food waste in the world.
This post is also available in: Español