World Food Day is an international day honoring the commitment to eradicate hunger in the world. This day is celebrated on October 16 in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 in Quebec, Canada. This day is celebrated by many food security organizations, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme.
World Food Day has adopted different themes every year to highlight areas needed for action and to create a common focus. Most themes revolve around agriculture because investing in agriculture is the only way to curb world hunger. But no matter how important agriculture is, this sector is frequently starved of investment. Foreign aid has particularly shown marked declines over the past 20 years.
The latest themes for World Food Day for the last ten years include:
- 2010: United against hunger
- 2011: Food prices – from crisis to stability
- 2012: Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world
- 2013: Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition
- 2014: Family farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth
- 2015: Social protection and agriculture: Breaking the cycle of rural poverty
- 2016: Climate change: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”
- 2017: Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development
- 2018: Our actions are our future, ending world hunger by 2030 is possible
- 2019: Our actions are our future, healthy diets for a #zerohunger world
As of writing, the campaign for the 2020 World Food Day is yet to be launched. But as countries worldwide suffer from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization will be launching a call for global solidarity to help vulnerable people recover and make food systems more sustainable.
World Hunger Update
According to the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, almost 690 million people suffered from hunger in 2019, a figure up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the report forecasts that over 130 million more people will fall into chronic hunger by the end of the year.
Countries around the world are still struggling with multiple forms of malnutrition. High costs and low affordability can mean that billions of people can’t eat nutritiously or healthily. Numerous people are hungry in Asia, but hunger is expanding the fastest in Africa.
Asia has the greatest number of undernourished people (381 million), and Africa comes second (250 million). Latin America and the Caribbean come third (48 million). These statistics hide regional disparities in terms of percentage. In Africa, 19.1 percent of its population is undernourished, which is more than double the rate in Asia (8.3%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4%). If this trend continues, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry by 2030.
The process of fighting hunger is already dwindling since 2014 as chronic hunger began to rise, and the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified this problem. The global food systems have become vulnerable and inadequate, as all the processes affecting the production, distribution, and consumption of food are affected. The report estimates that as much as 132 million may go hungry in 2020 due to the economic recession triggered by the pandemic.
This report is prepared by the FAO of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agriculture, The World Health Organization, the UN World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agriculture. These five agencies warn that the world is off-track in achieving the objective of ending world hunger by 2030.
How World Food Day is Celebrated
Around the world, events are organized on and around World Food Day. This program is aimed at political and non-political organizations to increase press attention on food supply issues. United Nations Organizations and universities worldwide organize conferences, symposia, workshops, and presentations of different problems regarding food production, distribution, and security.
Different events are organized to raise awareness about food supply and distribution problems and raise money to support projects that support the cultivation and distribution of food. Fundraising events are common, including concerts, charity auctions, sports events, marathons, exhibitions, cultural performances, contests, and marches.