World Food Day
Social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) celebrates World Food Day each year on October 16, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.
The International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA), which is made up of 40 dietetic associations from around the world, supports World Food Day. Dietitians of Canada is a member of ICDA. To provide background and ideas we’ve adapted the following Questions and Answers from the official World Food Day website: http://www.fao.org/world-food-day/2016/home/en/.
What are the objectives of World Food Day?
- encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;
- encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
- encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
- heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
- promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
- strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.
What is the theme of World Food Day 2015?
The 2015 World Food Day theme is “Social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty.”
Social protection can be defined as a blend of policies, programs and interventions aimed at protecting people with food insecurity or those who may be vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity.
Programs often provide financial support to enhance income, capacities and rights. For example: Social assistance programs, social insurance programs and labour market programs.
How are social protection and agriculture linked?
More than 75 per cent of people who are extremely poor and chronically undernourished in developing countries live in rural areas. Agriculture is an important part of their livelihood however, most family farmers and agriculture workers face a variety of challenges that make it hard for them to use agricultural production as a pathway out of poverty.
Social protection is critical because it stimulates production and provides greater income stability in the long term, reducing food insecurity and poverty.
Social protection programs can raise farm incomes, crop yields and livestock productivity. They are more effective when supported by complementary interventions such as soil improvements, resilient water management, better connectivity to markets and storage capacity, and access to higher-yield inputs.
What about here in Canada?
Dietitians believe that access to healthy food is a basic right yet, it is estimated that one in eight households in Canada experience food insecurity.
Food insecurity is caused by financial constraints. When income is too low or unsteady, there can be too little money left to pay for enough healthy food, after paying for fixed expenses like housing and utilities.
Learn more about food insecurity in Canada and proposed solutions here.
Dietitians of Canada identified two election priorities for the 2015 Federal Election and asked the Leaders of the National Parties to respond to seven questions. A National strategy to reduce food insecurity was one of these priorities. The letter sent to federal party leaders is available as well as background information on the priorities.
How do Canadian dietitians contribute to reducing food insecurity worldwide?
Dietitians value the importance of partnering to address food insecurity including with community groups and policy-makers. Dietitians interested in learning more can join the Practice in Global Contexts Network.