World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.
The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The World Food Day theme for last year (2016) was Climate Change: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too. This year, the theme is Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.
This day aims to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world encourage the participation of rural people – particularly women and the least privileged categories – in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions.
This is to promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world, to strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty, and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.
There are an estimated 842 million hungry people on the planet, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This means that one in eight people in the world suffers from chronic hunger, not having enough food for an active and healthy life. Plus the number of people on the planet is increasing rapidly. Production of basic staple foods will need to increase by 60 percent to meet the expected growth in demand.
In Kenya, the achievement of national food security is a key objective of the agricultural sector. Food security – the availability and accessibility of food – is an issue that affects everyone: World Food Day is part of the campaign for the world to reach Global Goal (SDG) 2, Zero Hunger.
Food security, in this case, is defined as “ a situation in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences
Not having enough or the right food to eat affects the physical and cognitive development of children, negatively impacting their ability to learn and to become productive members of their communities.
Hunger and malnutrition trap people in poverty. Malnutrition also plays a role in nearly half the deaths of children under the age of five by weakening their immune systems and making them more vulnerable to life-threatening diseases.