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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Only 19% of children globally eat minimally accepted diet says FAO - NaijaAgroNet: ... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology


Globally, only 19 per cent of children aged 6-23 months eat a minimally accepted diet, and only half eat the recommended minimum number of meals, according to the Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Also, the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations revealed some takeaways in the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report on ‘The future of food and agriculture - Alternative pathways to 2050'. 
Also, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the number of people aged 65 years or older is projected to more than double from 2020 to reach 1.5 billion in 2050, affecting demand for various types of food and minimum dietary energy requirements.
Since 2012, the global prevalence of undernutrition has followed a path close to one that FAO, in its report ‘The future of food and agriculture - Alternative pathways to 2050' identified not as "business as usual" - which is already unsustainable - but as the "worst-case" trajectory, associated with the ‘stratified societies' characterized by increasing inequalities and overuse of natural resources.

Robotics, digitalization and artificial intelligence are all being deployed in agri-food systems and may reduce the need for workers. In addition, in many low and middle-income countries, the average farm size has been decreasing. All this calls into question the applicability of the conventional wisdom regarding broader economic transformation and development patterns.

The world is not on track to eliminate hunger by 2030, and the current global food system is environmentally unsustainable.

A sustainable transformation of food and agricultural systems is required at all levels and in all countries.

Making healthy diets affordable and accessible for all

FAO's Director-General emphasized the need to address - and minimize - tradeoffs so that agricultural output can be increased while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource stress and employment losses.

The Secretary-General's report recognizes that policies to make the food system more sustainable may result in higher food prices if all production and consumption costs including resource degradation and greenhouse gas emissions are taken into account. Price increases reflecting such externalities may lead to more careful use of available resources - and less food waste - but may pose a challenge for economic access to food among poorer populations.

"Food systems cannot be sustainable per se," said Senior Economist Lorenzo Giovanni Bellù, who is the UN Strategic Foresight Network's focal point for FAO, during the Technical Panel for the presentation of the SG report to the CPD. He pointed out that economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for all, which is a critical dimension of agri-food systems' sustainability, has to be ensured by all the economic sectors, not only agriculture. Members agreed that governments should take targeted economy-wide actions to improve income earning opportunities for the poor.

To reinforce this message, FAO's Chief Economist Máximo Torero, in the High-Level Panel addressing the CPD, clearly stated that hunger and poverty cannot be defeated if inequalities at all levels are not drastically reduced.

The Report also noted that tackling all forms of malnutrition will require multi-faceted actions - engaging sectors ranging from health, education and agriculture to social protection, planning and economic policy - to play active roles along with political leaders to foster the required range of actions at the individual, household, community, national and global levels.

"FAO supports countries to develop, revise and implement dietary guidelines as recommended by the Secretary-General Report," said FAO Nutrition Officer Ramani Wijesinha Bettoni, part of the team that advised preparation of the report. "We aim to ensure dietary guidelines are developed using a food systems lens, giving countries the options to consider some or all dimensions of sustainability - sociocultural, environmental, economic and health."

The Commission also urged states and the international community to support investment in seed systems for fruits and vegetables, not just the staple crops - such as the commodities measured by the FAO Food Price Index - and to make greater use of plant diversity, increasing the production of underutilized plant-based foods.

The Chair of the CPD, H.E. Ambassador Yemdaogo Eric Tiare (Burkina Faso) congratulated FAO for its technical support to the 54th CPD, highlighting that they contributed to the successful outcome of the Commission.

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