On the brink of change – a global problem

A mix of durum wheat collection in Enchante, Alberta, Canada. GPS-programmed, they are already driverless, without going to the dock in the corner, August 2021. Credit: Trevor Page
  • Feedback Marwa Awad (Ottawa, Canada)
  • Inter Press Service

The World Bank estimates that the value of the global food system is about 8 8 trillion – about one-tenth of the entire world economy, yet this costly system fails to provide proper nutrition and adequate food. According to the World Food Program, the problem lies in the poor distribution of nutritious food. Although there is enough food to feed every person in the world, about one billion people go to bed hungry every night, while 2 billion people are overweight.

“What we have today is a food system that does not provide everyone with the nutrition they need. Yet it brings damage to the environment and as a result is a major contributor to today’s climate crisis, ”said Amir Abdullah, WFP’s Deputy Executive Director.

According to the FAO, in 2017, agriculture alone accounted for 68 percent of rural income in Africa and about half of rural income in South Asia. Already the climate crisis and the Covid-1 pandemic epidemic on us are disrupting all human activities across all sectors, changing the global food system is the most important to endure these shocks.


Food culture and weight loss industries are developing in many parts of the world. As much as it reflects the concentration of global food supply in the hands of a prosperous economy, it also points to the nutritional quality and lack of diversity in what people like to eat.

According to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, one in nine people worldwide is either starving or malnourished and one in three people worldwide is overweight or obese. In fact, overweight and obesity are on the rise in almost every country in the world, with no signs of slowing down.

Meanwhile, about one-fourth of children under 5 are stunted. The distinction between have and have notes is striking. Although rich countries suffer five times more at the rate of obesity and overweight than poor countries, underweight can be ten times more likely than poorer countries than rich countries.

Reforming the global food and health system is essential to eliminate inequality in distribution by making healthy, nutritious food the most affordable alternative for all.

Economic reasoning is mandatory for this reform. The Global Nutrition Report 2020 states: “The world has to spend billions of dollars every year on the lost opportunities for economic growth due to malnutrition.” Ensuring equitable access will allow more than 800 million people to enter the labor market and contribute to economic development in their country and around the world.

“We need to be able to continue the level of production, perhaps change what we’re producing, where we’re producing it and how we’re producing it, and then find a system that allows a fair distribution so that people have access to their nutrition. Necessary food, ”Abdullah said.

The World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, understands fragile, broken or distorted food systems, as it is at the core of the organization’s work. With an unparalleled six decades of experience in repairing, sustaining and improving food systems for the world’s most vulnerable and isolated communities, WFP is the best positioned food aid organization with the knowledge and skills to work with stakeholders to turn things around.

In order for the food system to work and respond to the challenges of the twenty-first century, they must be fundamentally designed to distribute food fairly, which is not an easy task, Abdullah said. There needs to be a consistent process that allows for equitable distribution.

Food helps and nourishes our world

If we are already producing more than we need but we are not necessarily producing the right food in the right place, how can we achieve food security in the interim while working in critical instance shifts? Increasing income so that everyone at the household level can buy enough food to keep themselves fit and healthy is the key to food security.

At the national level, countries need to be able to produce all the food their citizens need or buy it from countries that produce surpluses. Until that happens, food aid programs in food insecure areas will remain essential.

Meanwhile, our own feeding capacity has improved tremendously in the last 50 years, yet our food systems around the world are uneven, damaging public health and having a huge impact on our natural environment.

The WFP estimates that the number of people with acute food insecurity has increased by 80% – from 149 million pre-covid, to more than 270 million today. The epidemic is putting particular strain on the food system, especially in low-middle-income countries and fragile states where the food system is already flawed or disrupted.

In 2020, WFP countries reached 115.5 million vulnerable and food insecure people in the country, delivering food and other assistance through 300 ships, 100 planes and more than 5,000 trucks. In addition to providing instant relief, WFP helps smallholder farmers worldwide increase their agricultural productivity and reduce post-harvest losses by increasing livelihoods, increasing their access to agricultural inputs, resources, and services, paving the way for a more equitable food system, and the market simultaneously Improves their elasticity.

In the case of food supply chains and markets, WFP uses its supply chain and procurement expertise to strengthen the market for government and private sector stakeholders, facilitate food movement and its availability. In the second half of 2020, the WFP purchased more than 550,000 metric tons of food from the local food system, injecting more than 26 226 million into the food system. The amount of food purchased represents an increase of %% over the same period of 201 represents.

The world will not be able to achieve the goal of zero hunger by 2020, because the leaders of the states and multilateral organizations of the countries have reluctantly agreed. Zero Hunger, with other SDGs that will not be achieved by 2030, are all interconnected. While SDGs must be our goal, we need to find better ways to achieve them. Food is the most basic of our needs. Hopefully, we are on the path of changing the existing food system, so that gradually, very few of us around the world will go to bed hungry.

Marwa Awad, A resident of Ottawa, Canada, works for the World Food Program. She is the co-host of The WFP People’s Show.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service

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