Despite a period of decline, world hunger is on the rise again with over 820 million people globally suffering from chronic undernourishment.
This is according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Report 2018 on state of food security and nutrition in the world.
According to the report, conflict, extreme weather events linked to climate change, economic slowdown and rapidly increasing overweight and obesity levels are reversing the fight against hunger and nutrition.
Speaking to the press ahead of the day to commemorate the International World Food Day in Kampala, FAO Country Representative Ms Priya Gujadhur said to reverse the situation there is need for concerted efforts by nations, continents, professionals and all international actors so as to achieve zero hunger by the year 2030.
Farmers, private sector and governments must play their respective roles in the fight against hunger. Such include the elimination of food waste, empowerment of women, and promotion of financial inclusion among others.
She said 70 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas where people’s lives depend on agriculture, fisheries or forestry the reason zero hunger starts with transformation of the rural economy.
“As stake holders we call on the governments to create opportunities for greater private sector investments in agriculture while boosting social protection programmes for the vulnerable and linking food producers with urban areas,” Ms Gujadhur added.
She also called for concerted efforts to support smallholder farmers to enable them to adopt new, sustainable agricultural methods t increase productivity and income as well as ensuring the resilience of rural communities with an approach that is mindful of the environment that leverages the power of technological innovation and creates stable and rewarding employment opportunities.
Ms Gujadhur urged farmers to diversify crops as this will lead to healthier soils and help regulate pests and diseases.
“Farmers need to produce more with less because by 2050 farmers will need to double their yields if they are to feed the world’s increasing population. This requires sustainable resource management, sustainable water management as well as taking good care of the soils,” she added.
In his speech, State Minister for Agriculture Christopher Kibanzanga advised that to achieve a hunger-free world, parents must teach their children to appreciate the importance of agriculture in their lives so that they contribute towards food security in the country.
“As parents we need to give our children a new mind set so that they can contribute towards food security. The government will introduce good policies but it will not put food on your table hence our individual responsibility to produce what is enough for us,” he said.
He also called upon the private sector to establish stores for food in times of plenty to enable supply in periods of scarcity.
This year’s World Food day was commemorated under the theme; ‘To make zero hunger a reality by 2030, every one of us has a role’.