World Food Day is celebrated every year across the world on 16th October. It’s an annual celebration in the honor of the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organization launched by the United Nations in the year 1945. World Food Day is celebrated widely with great enthusiasm by several other organizations that are concerned with food security such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Food Program, and others.
World Food Day 2019
World Food Day was celebrated on Wednesday, 16th October 2019.
The theme of World Food Day 2019 was – “Our Actions Are Our Future”. The theme is designed to urge people from all walks of society to take action for the prevention of hunger, saving food and understanding nutritional values.
Qatar Charity distributed free meals to the refugees at a total cost of 1.5 billion. The meals were given to at least one lakh refugees and poor families in Turkey, Lebanon, and Palestine.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) in association with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have decided to celebrate world food Day across the country from 16th October to 25th October.
The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released a booklet on a healthier diet and a zero hunger world.
The individuals and organizations that are feeding the poor and hungry in India were applauded for their efforts and also organized several campaigns to spread awareness.
History of World Food Day
World Food Day (WFD) was established by the member countries of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) in November 1979, at the organization’s 20th General Conference. Dr. Pal Romany, the Hungarian Delegation led by the then Minister of Hungary for Agriculture and Food, played a significant role at the 20th General Conference of the FAO and proposed the idea of launching the WFD worldwide. Since then, the WFD is been observed in more than 150 countries every year; raising consciousness and knowledge of the problems and reasons behind hunger and poverty.
Why World Food Day is Celebrated
The principal reason behind launching and celebrating world food day is to secure and advance food security across the world, particularly in days of the crisis. The commencement of the Food and Agriculture organization by the United Nations has played a significant role in making this possible and accomplishing the goal.
The annual celebration of world food day represents the significance of the Food and Agriculture Organization; it also helps in increasing awareness of the crucial need for effective agriculture and food policies to be implemented by governments across the world to ensure there is sufficient food available for everyone worldwide.
How World Food Day is Celebrated in India
World Food Day was established in honor of the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched in 1945. Now it is also considered as Food Engineers’ Day. In India, the day marks the significance of agriculture and emphasizes on the fact that the produced and consumed by the Indians is safe and healthy.
The world food day is celebrated with great enthusiasm in India; several sincere lovers of food in Delhi joined hands and vowed to keep their food hygienic and safe. They opposed the introduction of GM (genetically modified) crops in India. People in Delhi celebrate the occasion at the Craft Museum of Dastakar Mela; they make rangoli and perform street plays and acts on the matter of genetic modification.
In India, World Food Day is the occasion, through which several non-voluntary organizations highlight the importance of eating healthy food and avoiding fast food in urban India. Volunteers also stage street plays demanding public consultation on BRAI (Biotechnology regulatory Authority of India) bill. It is one of the biggest dangers to our food safety as it is being proposed to promote the introduction of Genetically Modified crops in India.
Suggestions for Celebrating World Food Day in India in Better Way
India is a vast country with diverse cultures and traditions. The tradition varies from state to state and different festivals are celebrated in different styles in each state, but the food is the common element at every celebration. Varieties of food items get prepared, eaten and distributed amongst the families and friends as rituals. Marriage is also one of the most important occasions for Indians and various food items get prepared and leftover gets wasted.
Such families may preserve extra food and distribute the same to the poor and needy ones; this will make a lot of difference as no food would get wasted and hungry may be fed. Private companies and Government organizations may run a scheme where a certain percentage of salary gets deducted from those employees who voluntarily want to donate for the food bank and such money collected may be utilized at the times of natural calamities, disasters, etc.
Focus on Different Aspects
In the past few years, World Food Day has been using the annual celebration as a platform to concentrate on various other aspects of agriculture and food security such as biodiversity, climate change, and fishing communities.
Themes of World Food Day
Since 1981, World Food Day started adopting different celebration theme each year for highlighting common areas of concerns which needed attention and action. The majority of the themes rotate around farming and agriculture because it is been considered that only investment in agriculture along with support for health and education will be able to turn this situation around. The bulk of such investment must come from the private sector and public investment for promoting agriculture and mitigate the problem related to food and hunger such as deficiency of food, etc.
- The theme of World Food Day 2019 is – “Our Actions Are Our Future”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2018 was: “Our Actions Are Our Future, Ending World Hunger by 2030 is Possible”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2017: “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2016: “Climate change: Climate is changing, Food and agriculture must too”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2015: “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2014: “Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2013: “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2012: “Agricultural cooperatives “key to feeding the world”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2011: “Food prices from crisis to stability”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2010: “United against Hunger”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2009: “Achieving food security in times of crisis”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2008: “World food security: the challenges of climate change and bioenergy”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2007: “The right to food”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2006: “Investing in agriculture for food security”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2005: “Agriculture and intercultural dialogue”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2004: “Biodiversity for food security”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2003: “Working together for an international alliance against hunger”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2002: “Water: source of food security”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2001: “Fight hunger to reduce poverty”.
- The theme of World Food Day 2000: “A millennium free from hunger”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1999: “Youth against hunger”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1998: “Women feed the world”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1997: “Investing in food security”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1996: “Fighting hunger and malnutrition”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1995: “Food for all”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1994: “Water for life”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1993: “Harvesting nature’s diversity”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1992: “Food and Nutrition”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1991: “Trees for life”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1990: “Food for the future”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1989: “Food and the environment”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1988: “Rural youth”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1987:“Small farmers”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1986: “Fishermen and fishing communities”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1985: “Rural poverty”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1984: “Women in agriculture”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1983: “Food Security”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1982: “Food comes first”.
- The theme of World Food Day 1981: “Food comes first”.
How World Food Day is Celebrated Worldwide
World Food Day is celebrated through various events across the world. Some of the examples of events held in recent years across the world are as follows:
The United States of America
World Food Day has been a custom in the United States ever since it was established for the first time in the year 1981. In the United States, this great work is sponsored by approximately 450 private, national and voluntary organizations. Various events are been organized at these organizations; one such notable example for the celebration is the World Food Day Sunday Dinners sponsored by Oxfam America in association with several other non-profit organizations.
Author Francis Moore Lappe and Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu have teamed up with Oxfam America for promoting World Food Day Sunday Dinners. The Iowa Hunger Summit was held since 2007 around World Food Day; it has been organized by the World Food Prize in association with their yearly symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.
The United Kingdom
Every year FareShare celebrates World Food Day marking the importance of saving food and eliminating food wastage. FareShare is a charity organization established to eliminate hunger from the life of needy people. The organization aims at reducing food poverty and minimizing food waste in the UK. Fareshare does this by preserving surplus food of good quality which would otherwise have been wasted; the charity sends such food to over 2000 different charities and communities across the United Kingdom for further distribution amongst the poor people.
Elimination of imbalance between hunger and food waste is at the center of FareShare’s work. Through World Food Day, Fareshare encourages everyone to acknowledge that people having sufficient food to eat and influences everyone to take action and help those people who do not have enough food to eat. There are many poor people in the UK who have to worry about their next meal.
Food saved through Fareshare reaches the less privileged women, men, and children who are the victims of natural calamity, mishaps, war veterans, victims of domestic violence. Fareshare also helps people living below the poverty line, homeless people, people fighting against drug and alcohol addiction, older people suffering from isolation, and low-income people who struggle each day to arrange food.
On World Food Day, Spanish television gets active with the broadcasting events. Spanish soccer star and the Goodwill Ambassador of FAO, Raul has taken part in many events and has helped in highlighting food-security issues throughout his country. In Germany, the Food and Agriculture Ministry, Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, etc get involved through press conferences.
In Italy, various NGOs, international agencies, research institutes, universities, and ministries have organized several conferences, exhibitions, and symposia. In 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Policies in Italy organized a meeting that focused on the rights of women in rural areas.
The UK Food Group has also remained active through media broadcasts and conferences. Hungary celebrates World Food Day by inviting distinguished experts to deliver presentations in the Hungarian Agricultural Museum and Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Day awards have been given to renowned Hungarian experts by the Sub-Regional representative of the FAO. Various activities are held in the rising economies of Eastern Europe including countries such as Slovak Republic, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Moldova, Hungary, Georgia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Armenia, and Albania.
Australia celebrates World Food Day to help needy people fight hunger. During World Food Day and the days around it, several Australians take part in Eat Local Feed Global organized by Oxfam. An affiliate of Oxfam International, Oxfam Australia is an Australian community-based, not-for-profit, independent and secular aid and development organization. The works of Oxfam Australia include continuing development projects that respond to the emergencies and aim to improve the lives of disadvantaged people worldwide.
Every year on the With World Food Day, several Oxfam supporters prepare for the Eat Local Feed Global feast and activities with the aim to help people fight hunger and poverty overseas. Eat Local Feed Global is held for increasing awareness about discrimination in the food system globally and increase money for life-changing work done by Oxfam.
In Canada, the biggest World Food Day occasion is celebrated in Langley, British Columbia arranged by society ‘Food for Famine’ (FFF). FFF is a humanitarian society aimed to save the lives of those children who are under five years of age suffering from SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition)
Every year on World Food Day, Canada hosts several world-famous speakers and opens the door to numerous exhibitors. Many people join the movement and enjoy a comprehensive and stimulating knowledge on different topics including new advancements in agriculture, initiatives related to solving poverty and world hunger and many more issues related to food security and healthy eating. Participants enjoy complimentary lunch and various other activities.
The Mentor Amiable Professional Society, a Society popularly known as MAPS in Pakistan celebrates WFD by offering food packages to poor & needy people; the society also explains to the people the importance of food and its security through various food workshops.
Cyprus makes the children also aware of the importance of food security by organizing special festivals in schools including primary and secondary, where teachers inform the significance of World Food Day to the children.
Bangladesh Government has been involved in celebrating World Food Day by organizing food festivals. In 2005, World Food Day was celebrated in China with great zeal; the food festival was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in Qujing City, where numerous ethnical minorities live. Many local people participated in the food festival as well as a number of senior Government officials, NGOs, and organizations.
The Afghani representatives of embassies, Ministries, International Financial Organizations, National and International NGOs, UN agencies and the staff of FAO have attended the World Food Day ceremony held in Afghanistan.
In order to celebrate the WFD in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, different seminars have been held and various project sites have been visited. In Indonesia, the Ministry of Agriculture has organized a major Food Expo in West Java and Bandung; in Bali, a Farmers’ and Fishermen’s meeting with NGOs was organized.
In Armenia, WFD has been celebrated by different communities including Governmental and non-governmental; staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Armenian State Agriculture University, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, the donor community, and the mass media have participated in the World Food Day observance.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana has organized a food security conference and Namibia has run an awareness program through national media.
Angola celebrated World Food Day through the 4th Forum on Rural Women in 2005; in Burundi, the second Vice-President marked the event by planting potatoes to give a symbolic example of the production of food. The President of the Central African Republic inaugurated a bridge at Boda in the honor of the World Food Day; this facilitated the agricultural production area easily reachable.
Egypt has organized a debate and discussion on nutrition issues. Tunisia and Morocco have organized exhibitions and seminars. The public and several organizations in Nigeria got involved in feeding programs such as Foodbank Nigeria in order to associate with community-based organizations, stakeholders in food production, wholesalers and agro-allied industries for addressing food security challenges.
Northern Nigeria is unstable since 2009. According to AAH (Action against Hunger), the humanitarian organization established in Nigeria, the constant and intensified humanitarian crisis in Northeast Nigeria has resulted into the dislocation of approximately 1.5 million people; it also caused around four million people to face acute food insecurity and need the assistance of Action Against Hunger. Since 2010, the AAH has been working with the national agencies and local communities to construct food capacity in order to fight the deadly malnutrition caused by food insecurity.
Thousands of people in Chad have attended conferences, debates, and activities including folk dance, films, theatre; the project sites have also been visited by the countrymen and various agricultural companies.
Argentina also celebrates WFD where senior executives of the Government, international organizations, academics, and the media have participated in the main celebration. A National Campaign for “Mexico without Hunger” was held in 2005 in Mexico in order to mark WFD; the function was participated and supported by numerous students and civil society.
Uruguayan coin was dedicated to the WFD in 1981. Various local communities in Chile organized exhibitions of indigenous food products to mark WFD.
In Venezuela, national coverage of all events is held on the WFD.
In Cuba, food producers are given the opportunity on the WFD to exchange experiences and views at an agricultural fair organized on the WFD. The press also supports awareness campaigns on World Food Day to make people aware of the food and food security.
Even though agriculture is highly important and one of the major driving forces in the economies of various developing countries, this critical sector is often starved of investment. In specific, foreign aid to agriculture has shown remarkable declines in the past 20 years. Food and its security are of the utmost importance to every country worldwide.
Government organizations and the private institutes must join hands for organizing events, debates, discussions, etc on World Food Day for making general people aware of the security of the food in days of crisis and the importance of agriculture to grow sufficient food. World Food Day is the best platform for creating such awareness.