World Food Day (WFD)
was established by FAO's Member Countries at the Organization's
Twentieth General Conference
in November 1979. The date chosen -
16 October - is the anniversary of FAO.
It bas since been observed every year in more than 150 countries.
FROM RESOLUTION TO
WFD provides a
reminder of FAO's constant search for a long-term solution to the
problem of hunger and poverty in the world. WFD was created with
the goal that "food for all" should become a human right for
present and future generations.
to heighten public
awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate
national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to
to promote the
transfer of technologies to the Third World;
international and national solidarity in the struggle against
hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to
achievements in food and agricultural development;
to encourage the
participation of rural people, particularly women and the least
privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing
their living conditions;
economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.
WFD activities are
organized mainly by participating countries, with due assistance
from FAO. The Unit for Liaison with National Committees (GIDN) at
FAO Headquarters assists in the coordination of various programmes
under the overall aegis of the General Affairs and Information
Governments: Most countries have established National
Committees to promote, plan and execute activities at national
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): NGOs take part in
National Committees and they make an important contribution. In
some countries, NGO coalitions are responsible for organizing WFD.
A Global Confederation for WFD has been established.
Educational institutions: In many schools and institutions
of learning, WFD focus is on developing awareness during the
formative years and include essay or poetry competitions,
workshops and round-tables, among other things.
Individuals: Participation of people at large is a main
feature of WFD. In addition, individuals of standing in the
community lend significant support to the objectives and
activities of WFD.
WFD activities are
carried out at local, national, regional and international levels.
FAO Representatives and designated WFD Officers assist National
WFD Committees and other participating organizations who decide
the activities at the national level. In addition, a ceremony at
FAO Headquarters is held on 16 October. Observances are also held
by the FAO Regional Offices.
At the national and local levels, priority is given to activities
in rural areas. The following list illustrates some of the types
of activities that are organized:
agricultural fairs, exhibitions, visits to farms and/or farmers'
markets to show the programmes carried out in the agricultural
activities on the WFD theme by the National Committees with the
active participation of NGOs as well as of peoples and farmers'
Organization of WFD
activities within FAO field projects.
distribution of materials for education on development for
workshops and symposia on the WFD theme, reflecting national
realities and problems.
for food producers through prizes and/or trophies.
food, money or agricultural inputs to needy persons and groups.
Initiation of new
field projects related to food self-sufficiency.
Training and support
to individuals and groups in the preparation of family or
Government-issue, commemorative coins or stamps.
ceremonies and related activities.
FAO book fairs.
poster competitions, essay-writing contests, etc.
Biodiversity benefit natural and agricultural ecosystems?
management of broad-based genetic diversity within domesticated
species have been improving agricultural production for 10,000
years, however diverse natural populations have been providing
food and other products for much longer. A wide range of species
provides many thousands of products through agriculture and from
the harvest of natural populations. High production levels are
sustained through maximising the beneficial impact of ecosystem
services for agricultural, modified and natural ecosystems.
A diverse range of organisms contributes to the resilience of
agricultural and natural ecosystems, their capacity to recover
from environmental stress and their ability to evolve. Informed
adaptive management of agricultural and natural biodiversity,
above and below ground and under water secures sustained
OF ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
Essential functions such as nutrient cycling, decomposition of
organic matter, crusted or degraded soil rehabilitation, pest and
disease regulation, water quality, and pollination are maintained
by a wide range of biologically diverse populations in natural
ecosystems and in and near agricultural ecosystems. Maintaining
this diversity of species and building on and enhancing ecosystem
functions reduces external input requirements by increased
nutrient availability, improved water use and soil structure, and
natural control of pests.
farming benefit Biodiversity?
more than one third of the land in most countries of the world.
Agricultural systems managed sustainably as ecosystems contribute
to wider ecosystem functions such as maintenance of water quality,
waste removal, soil moisture retention with reduction of runoff,
water infiltration, erosion control, carbon sequestration,
pollination, dispersal of seeds of wild and endangered plants, and
refugia for species during droughts.
A range of
populations needed by agriculture such as pollinators and
beneficial predators need habitat diversity to survive.
Agriculture therefore provides incentives to preserve areas such
as hedgerows and field borders. Farming of aquatic species often
occurs in natural water bodies. Thus, here too aquaculture
provides incentives to protect the aquatic environment from
adverse impacts, for example from pollution and water diversion.
The need for adaptation and potential for improvement in
productivity provides an incentive for the conservation of a
diverse range of genetic resources both in situ and ex situ.
large part of the human legacy of knowledge of biodiversity, its
importance, and functions have been gained and will continue to be
gained across cultures through agriculture practices, as well as
that gained from the harvesting of natural populations. This is a
resource that should be more actively used, as in schools'
programmes, to strengthen the ecological literacy of all citizens.