More than 820 million people around the world suffer from chronic malnutrition at present.
More than 820 million people around the world suffer from chronic malnutrition at present. Another 672 million suffer from obesity and 1.3 billion people are overweight. These data have been revealed by the most recent UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report for 2018. 70% of the poverty-stricken population lives in rural areas, where their lives depend on agriculture, fish farming and forestry, the aforementioned document also shows. For this particular reason, according to the UN organization, the Zero Hunger objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires a transformation of rural economy.
The aforementioned objective promotes cooperation at world-level, in order to provide the population of the world with access to healthy and nutritious food. To that end, governments will have to create opportunities for the development of private investments in agriculture, while increasing the number of social protection programs for vulnerable categories and creating connections between producers and the urban regions.
Conflicts and climate change, which cause extreme weather conditions, a low level of economic progress, alongside obesity represents the opposite of the fight against famine and malnutrition, according to specialists. In a Radio Romania programme, such a conclusion was also emphasized by the president of Bucharest’s Ecological University Mircea Dutu. The main conclusion of the FAO report on food and agriculture in 2018, made public on October 15 in Rome, is that, at present, in the wake of a period of regression, famine is spreading around the world.
With details on that, here is Professor Mircea Dutu: ”More than 820 million people suffer from chronic undernutrition. Conflicts, extreme weather phenomena related to severe climate change, recession and the great number of overweight and obese people counteract the fast progress obtained in the fight against famine and malnutrition. What I should like to emphasize is the fact that at world level, there is much talk about recognizing man’s fundamental right to food, which first of all means access to sufficient, quality food, vital for a healthy and active life. These seem to be the main issues facing the world today, and ‘Acting Together’ is the slogan of the World Food Day in 2018, in order to fulfill the ‘Zero Hunger’ stated objective in 2030.”
Small producers should implement new, sustainable methods to increase productivity and gain higher incomes. An environment-friendly approach is needed to ensure mobility in rural communities, to encourage technological development and create new, more stable and profitable jobs, UN experts say. Labour force and economic development are not enough, however, particularly in the case of conflict victims. That is why the ‘Zero’ Hunger objective is based on a long term strategy which is needed to create an inclusive and peaceful society. Other significant aspects are related to food safety and security.
Professor Mihai Berca from the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest has more: “If we refer to security alone and not to safety, the quality of foodstuffs that people should eat and their poor diversity represent a major problem, and this poor diversity is the result of poor menus, which are not adequate for human health. This is in terms of security. Another problem is that we come under various attacks from the whole world, particularly from the south, because of climate change: insects, bacteria, diseases and pests affect both quality and quantity, although quality is most affected, because we do not have enough time to intervene, to find out more about them, given the speed at which they affect our cultures. For this reason, our capacity to provide some of the best raw materials for agriculture is decreasing by the day.”
Containing food waste can contribute to eradicating famine. Statics show that every year the quantity of dumped foodstuffs exceeds 100 kg/person in some places. Some of the root-causes include marketing strategies designed to boost the purchase of products, by making special offers. On the other hand, a consumer protection company in France has recently made public the results of a series of tests showing that some dairy producers intentionally mention shorter validity terms than normal on the labels of their products, in order to speed up the rotation of products on the shelves. Waste is registered in the field of agriculture, too, as a result of some practices such as abandoning part of the cereal crop in the field, using unsold products to feed the animals, using fruits and vegetables which do not meet the required standards to make compost or to obtain bio-fuel.