World Food Day on October 16 targets volatile food costs
Today — October 16, 2011 — is World Food Day, a global event for increasing awareness of hunger and creating year-round action to alleviate hunger problems. This year’s theme is “Food prices — from crisis to stability.” Organizers plan to shed light on the volatility of food prices and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the poorest populations, who are hit hardest by price upswings.
According to the World Bank, rising food costs during during 2010-11 pushed nearly 70 million people worldwide into extreme poverty.
The video below, created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), explains the root causes of high and volatile food prices and what can be done about it.
Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project (which evaluates sustainable agricultural innovations to alleviate hunger), said:
Food prices have continued to rise since 2007, and this has led to millions of people being unable to meet their daily food needs. The price hikes unfortunately also have meant that there is less money for food aid at a time when it is most vital.
According to the Worldwatch Insitute, the number of undernourished people worldwide has decreased since 2009 to nearly one billion, a number that is still unacceptably high. The FAO reports that one-third of the African population is undernourished and one child in Africa dies every six seconds because of undernourishment.
Robert Engelman, president of the Worldwatch Institute, said:
There’s something wrong with a world in which a billion people can’t get enough to eat for normal health while a different billion people threaten their health by overeating. World Food Day is [a] day for thinking hard about how to see the problem of access to nutritious food … as a shared global responsibility for us all.
Since 1981, World Food Day has been observed on October 16 in recognition of the founding of the FAO. On October 16, 2011, World Food Day events are raising money to support initiatives that will ease population growth, boost incomes and prepare farmers to protect their harvests against the negative effects of climate change, among others.
Bottom line: World Food Day is October 16, 2011. This year’s theme is “Food prices — from crisis to stability.” Organizers are addressing the volatility of food prices and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the poorest populations, who are hit hardest by price upswings.