Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project
The volatility of food prices, in particular price upswings, represents a major threat to food security in developing countries and typically affects poor populations the hardest. According to the World Bank, during 2010--11 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people worldwide into extreme poverty.
World Food Day is a global event designed to increase awareness and understanding and to create year-round action to alleviate hunger. Since 1981, the event has been observed on October 16 in recognition of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a specialized agency that was established in Quebec City, Canada, in 1945. This year's World Food Day theme is "Food prices -- crisis to stability," with the purpose of shedding some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.
Since the inception of World Food Day, organizations have taken advantage of the occasion to inform the public about what they can do to help end world hunger. Although the number of undernourished people worldwide has decreased since 2009, to nearly 1 billion, it is still unacceptably high. According to a recent FAO report, in Africa alone, nearly one-third of the population is undernourished and one child dies every six seconds because of the problem.
On October 16 of this year, countries, organizations, and communities are organizing events to educate and raise awareness, with the aim of addressing widespread problems in food supply and distribution systems. These events are raising money to support projects that focus on initiatives such as measures to ease population growth, boost incomes, and prepare farmers to protect their harvests against the negative effects of climate change, among others.
Throughout the world, organizations and governments are developing and implementing various plans to stabilize food prices and ensure that there is food on every table. Here are just a few examples:
There is no single solution to end world hunger, and these are just a few of the organizations that are taking the multi-pronged approach that is necessary to address this global problem. World Food Day is the perfect occasion for researchers, policymakers, and NGOs to reflect on the existing efforts as well as potential future initiatives that can help fight global hunger and malnutrition.