Every year a theme is adopted to
highlight the areas needed for action and provide a common focus. World Food
Day marks many events such as food drives, hunger walks, awareness campaigns
and engages diverse audiences in action against hunger. The theme for 2015
World Food Day is "Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of
Rural Poverty". The theme highlights the importance to reduce rural poverty,
provide access to food and help the poor in the society move out of hunger and
The Right to Food is a Basic Human
Statistics show that globally, one
in nine people live with chronic hunger. Nearly 60 percent of the hungry people
in the world are women. Five million children below the age of five die of
malnutrition every year. Every human being has the right to adequate food and
the right to be free from hunger. The right to adequate food is when a man,
woman and child has the physical and economic access to food or means of
procurement at all times.
According to FAO, there are 805
million people who suffer from hunger in the world. They do not have adequate
food to live a healthy and active life. The number of hungry people in the
world increases when there are seasonal food shortages. More than 70 percent of
people who suffer from hunger live in rural areas of Asia, Africa and Latin
America. Many of them are farmers. Farmers who feed the world are hungry
themselves. Many farmers lack access to good seeds, storage for their crops,
transportation, well-functioning markets and finance. Global hunger problem can
be significantly reduced by focusing on the needs of farmers. Supporting
farmers can improve productivity, reduce food losses and increase farmers'
Consequences of Hunger and Poverty
When hunger and poverty are
neglected, the cost is too high; the world as a whole loses when people do not
have sufficient food to eat. People who suffer from hunger
learning difficulties, poor immunity, less productivity at work, and live
shorter lives. Globally, around 26 percent of the children are stunted due to
malnutrition. Two billion people suffer from one or more micronutrient
deficiencies. Hunger and poverty lead to global insecurity and environmental
Is It Possible To End Hunger In
It is possible to end hunger in
our lifetime. The world produces enough food to feed every single person. In
recent decades there has been progress in fighting hunger and poverty.
The world leaders signed a
commitment in September 2000 to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals by
2015. One of the goal is to eradicate poverty and hunger. Forty countries have
achieved the target to halve the number of people who suffer from hunger by
2015. Over the last two decades, the likelihood of a child dying before age
five has been nearly cut in half. Since 1990, extreme poverty rate have also
been cut in half.
The number of people in developing
regions who live in extreme poverty has come down significantly from 43 per
cent in 1990 to 17 percent this year.
Social Protection is the Key
Social protection could play a
crucial role to end hunger and malnutrition
says a new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Social protection is referred to all government programs that try to help
vulnerable people, and protect them against economic and natural shocks that
may cause their losses of income and assets that affect their livelihoods.
Social protection policies and programs could be pension schemes and guaranteed
health insurance that some developed countries already enjoy.
Social protection is on the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is considered an important means to
achieve the goal of ending poverty within the next 15 years.
Without social protection, the
poor in society are at constant risk of hunger and poverty, especially when
faced with economic or natural crisis. Nearly 75 percent of the malnourished
people in the world live in rural areas. Effective social programs in such
areas could pave the way to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.
When the government includes
social protection programs in national development strategies and policies, it
can provide greater income stability as well as the ability to manage risk thus
contributing to reduce poverty and food insecurity in the long-term.
Social protection offers hope and
the ability to plan for the future to the vulnerable. It also helps increase
on-farm and non-farm activities, strengthening livelihoods and increasing
income. Social protection programs also foster more investment in the education
and health of children, which in turn reduces child labor.
With most of the world's poor and
hungry still living in the rural areas and still dependent on agriculture,
combining social protection with agricultural development programs could
improve the lives of farmers. Policy and programs for rural development, food
security, poverty reduction, and nutrition need to assist the joint role of
social protection and agriculture in fighting poverty and hunger. Ending hunger
and poverty is not just crucial, but also a good investment for society.