Over 130 million people are hunger stricken due to the pandemic says FAO ahead of World Food Day

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Over 130 million people are hunger stricken due to the pandemic says FAO ahead of World Food Day
Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja and the FAO, representative to Uganda Antonio Querido at a presser held at Media centre- Photo Abraham Mutalyebwa

KAMPALA- On October  16, 2020, the World Food Organisation ( WFO), Food and Agricultural Organization ( FAO), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries together with its partners will celebrate the World Food Day, 2020 at their offices in Entebbe.

It is aimed at promoting and creating awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security, better production and nutritious diets for all.

 This year’s theme is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together. Our Actions are our future”.

 Mr. Antonio Querido, FAO’s Country Representative said that the commemoration of the World Food Day has come when COVID -19 has confronted them.

“The pandemic has not only taken a toll on human lives and health, but also threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the world and has exposed the fragility of our agri- food systems. Before the COVID -19 pandemic nearly 700 million were under nourished and more than two billion people did not have regular access to safe and nutritious food. The economic disruption linked to the pandemic may add another 130 million times to these figures,” He added.

He revealed that reports from the June 2020 to January 2021 indicate that two in 10 households in urban areas did not have enough food to eat and most of them resort to poor diets or reduced number and size of meals, noting that six in 10 families sold their productive assets such as land, livestock, and begged or turned to illegal activities to find food.

Antonio further explained that it is an opportune time to work towards addressing the persistent inequalities and inefficiencies that plague the food systems, economies and social support structures, which will require innovative solutions, global solidarity and strong partnerships.

He urged for smart and systemic action to get food to those who need it and improvement for those who have it, adding that there is need to enhance digital technology to improve agriculture, methods of food production, processing, trading, consumption and disposal should be transformed to ensure that future needs can be made without degrading or depleting biodiversity and other natural resources on which we rely.

“This year, FAO celebrates 75 years since it was formed. However, over the years, it has become evident that simply producing more food is not enough. Making agri-food systems sustainable, resilient, inclusive and healthy diets accessible and affordable for everyone is paramount to building back from disasters.  We recognize and celebrate the farmers and supply chain actors who have sustained food production ensuring that food reaches those who need it, particularly during this pandemic,” he concluded.