As the United States (US) World Food Day website aptly puts it, World Food Day “is a day of action against hunger”.
It is a day to look back at steps taken and to look forward towards fresh initiatives for the eradication of hunger, if not internationally, at least locally.
This day also marks the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which took place on October 16, 1945.
World Food Day 2020 Theme
The theme for this year’s World Food Day is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.”
Companies, NGOs, the media, the general public and states conduct numerous events and outreach programmes.
“World Food Day 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of FAO in an exceptional moment as countries around the world deal with the widespread effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a time to look into the future we need to build together,” FAO’s official website states.
“As countries deal with the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Food Day 2020 will highlight how food and agriculture are an essential part of the COVID-19 response. World Food Day 2020 will call for global cooperation and solidarity to help the most vulnerable to recover from the crisis. It will call on countries to build back better by making food systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver healthy and sustainable diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers,” it stated.
FAO encourages us to honour the people who produce, plant, harvest, fish or transport our food and invites the public to thank these # FoodHeroes, who continue to provide food to their communities and beyond, regardless of the circumstances, helping to grow, nurture and sustain our environment.
World Food Day 2020 in India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a commemorative coin worth Rs 75on the occasion.
This will mark India’s long-standing association with the FAO.
Seventeen recently developed biofortified varieties of eight crops will also be dedicated to the country.
Facts about India’s malnutrition
For years, malnutrition has gripped our nation. We remain nutritionally weak despite India ‘s impressive economic growth over the past decade.
In India, 38.4 per cent of children are stunted and 21 per cent are wasted, according to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS 4).
In terms of the number of children suffering from malnutrition, India remains one of the world’s highest-ranking countries.
In order to catalyse progress, the Government of India launched the National Nutrition Mission, also known as Poshan Abhiyan, in December 2017.
The task of the Mission is to reduce undernutrition in all its aspects, including the prevention and reduction of childhood stunting and underweight, the reduction of low birth weight, and the reduction of anemia prevalence among young children, adolescent girls and women.
The production of nutritionally rich crop varieties with elevated levels of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, total protein, high lysine and tryptophan protein content, anthocyanin, provitamin A and oleic acid, and decreased levels of anti-nutritional factors, etc, has been given top priority by the government, in line with international priority.
Without large, widespread changes in people’s daily behaviour, improvements in nutrition will not be possible.
Community-based approach to solve malnutrition
In order to stop and accelerate the reduction of underweight prevalence in children under five years of age, community-based oriented behaviour change strategies are needed.
Poshan Abhiyan should follow an unorthodox, bottoms-up approach to behaviour change in an attempt to cause a Jan Andolan, which can be complementary.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has launched the Nutri-Sensitive Agricultural Resources and Innovations (NARI) programme to promote family farming that links agriculture to nutrition, nutrition-smart villages to improve nutritional safety, and KVKs are developing and promoting location-specific nutrition garden models to ensure access to locally available, healthy and diversified diets with adequate macro and micro nutrition.
The feasibility of community-based evidence interventions in local contexts was evaluated by a recent study conducted by an NGO.
In order to identify current breastfeeding, age-appropriate feeding practices, sanitation, hand washing practices, seasonal availability of types of local food and the weight of children under the age of five, a detailed investigation was undertaken.
Based and grassroots level health service providers such as the ASHAs/Anganwadi Workers have been established for day-wise sessions.
Such an approach to community participation can be used to tackle undernutrition among children as an effective community-based method to achieve the objectives of Poshan Abhiyan.
Anganwadi centres and ASHAs, with the help of community members, can adopt this strategy. It will serve not only to reduce malnutrition, but also to implant sustainable and positive community behaviour as an important tool.