World Food Day 2021: Collective Actions Needed to Reach Better Agri-food System

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Laila Afifa

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  • World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16 October.Collective action across 150 countries is what makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. Doc.: FAO

    World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16 October.Collective action across 150 countries is what makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. Doc.: FAO

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The World Food Day is celebrated a second time during the COVID-19 pandemic today, October 16. In many parts of the world, the pandemic has triggered brutal recessions, jeopardized access to food, and affected the entire food systems. Yet even before the pandemic, hunger was spreading; progress on malnutrition lagged and number of hungry people increased across the globe.

    Therefore, this year's theme of the #WorldFoodDay is: Our Actions are our future, better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life (four betters). It highlights the importance of sustainable agri-food systems for a more resilient world anticipating the future.

    It is known that the world now is having huge set back in the fight against hunger. FAO reported today that more than 3 billion people (almost 40% of the world’s population) cannot afford a healthy diet in a sustainable manner. At the same time, obesity is in the rise in many countries. Up to 811 million people are undernourished and in contrast, 2 billion adults are overweight or obese, due to the poor diets combined with a sedentary lifestyle, as stated by FAO in the press release received by Tempo on October 16.

    In Indonesia, the number of overweight adults has doubled over the past two decades. Childhood obesity is also on the rise. Yet, 27.67% of children in Indonesia under 5 years of age are  stunted, or too short for their age, which is higher than the average for the Asia region.

    As shown, today’s agrifood systems are exposing profound inequalities and injustices in our society. The system that covers the journey of food from farm to table – including when it is grown, harvested, processed, packaged, transported, distributed, traded, bought, prepared, eaten and disposed- urgently needs to be transformed in a more sustainable way.

    “Our lives depend on the agrifood systems.  Every time you eat, you participate in the system. The food we choose and the way we produce, prepare, cook and store it make us an integral and active part of the way in which an agri-food system works“, said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Indonesia.