World Food Day provides an occasion to highlight the plight of 870 million undernourished people in the world. Most of them live in rural areas where their main source of income is agriculture. Global warming and the biofuel boom are now threatening to push the number of hungry even higher.
The Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations proclaimed World Food Day in 1979 to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. The day marks the date of the founding of the FAO in 1945. In 1980, the General Assembly endorsed observance of the day in consideration of the fact that "food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity" (resolution 35/70 of 5 December).
World Food Day is commemorated annually around the world on 16 October in remembrance of founding the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 as an organisation that deals with global food and agricultural issues.
The main focus of establishing the FAO was to deal with the global physical availability of food and agricultural development after World War 2. World Food Day is commemorated widely by governments and many other organisations in the world concerned with the production, preservation and distribution of food to ensure food security. In 1979 World Food Day was proclaimed by the Conference of the FAO.
In October 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) declared October as “Food Security Month”. The objective of this declaration was to create a platform for heightening public awareness on issues pertaining to food (in) security in the country.
Annually, FAO member states commemorate World Food Day by organising public awareness campaigns that support the National Programme for Food and Nutrition Security. As a member state, South Africa also commemorates the day through hives of activities aimed at highlighting food and nutrition security.
- To inform South Africans on the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security.
- To heighten public awareness on issues such as absence and scarcity of food in the country and to strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
- To promote food production and to stimulate national, bi-lateral, trans-national and non-governmental initiatives.
- To encourage research and technology development for the development of symbiotic ecological food production systems to ensure sustainable food production.
- To enhance the participation of rural people, particularly women and the under privileged in decisions and events impacting their living conditions.
- To heighten public awareness on the government programmes aimed at halving hunger in South Africa.
- To raise awareness of the public regarding the contribution of indigenous forests to food security and nutrition.