For most people the world over, there is food available all year round. The same cannot be said of millions living elsewhere in the world. The United Nations under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture organization, FAO, has proclaimed every October 16th as ‘World Food Day.’ Quite contrary to its name, it is not necessarily a day to share food but to raise global awareness on the food situation especially for those with little or nothing to eat.
There is usually a global celebration at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, but countries across the world also hold national and local level events to commemorate the day. The bad news for Africa is that hunger is on the rise. The World Health Organization, WHO, African region disclosed today that after a prolonged decline, hunger is again a major concern. Nearly 14 million children, under the age of five are wasting away; 59 million are stunted due to malnutrition. Food security is a must for these children to survive. The African Region has the highest level of food borne diseases. Ninety-one million fall ill and 137,000 die from food borne bacteria. WHO stated “Everyone has a right to safe food.”
At the World Food Day Global Ceremony FAO Goodwill Ambassadors for Nutrition, the King of Lesotho and Queen Letizia of Spain were joined by the UN Rome-based agency heads and other key players in the effort to achieve Zero Hunger. FAO celebrates World Food Day each year to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events are organized in over 130 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar.
Global and local events, in addition to promoting worldwide awareness also call for action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, African News