Think about food security on World Food Day (16th October)

Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.

One of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security. The world’s poorest are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters. This is because over 70 percent of the world’s poor are small-scale growers, farmers, and fishers relying on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihood.

At the same time, the global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. It is estimated that agriculture production must rise by about 60 percent by 2050 to feed a larger and generally richer population. Agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change to meet such a heavy demand, by becoming more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations, and reduce emissions.

Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.

The world aims to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. Over one-third of food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. The global costs of food wastage are approximately US $2.6 trillion per year. Global food loss and waste generated 8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions annually – almost equal to global road emissions!

What you can do tackle climate change and impact food security

  • Don’t waste water: take a short shower, fix leaky taps, only use your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load, and water your garden with collected rainwater or grey water.
  • Diversify your diet: try to eat one all-vegetable meal instead of a meat meal each week – include pulses such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas.
  • Keep fish populations afloat: eat fish species that are more abundant, and buy fish that has been caught or farmed sustainably
  • Keep soils and water clean: pick up litter and use eco-friendly products such as paint and cleaners that are free from bleach or other strong chemicals.
  • Buy only what you need: Plan your meals, make and stick to a shopping list, and avoid impulse buys.
  • Pick ugly or organic fruit and vegetables: try some ugly fruit and vegetables, and make use of food that might otherwise go to waste.
  • Store food wisely: Move older products to the front and new ones to the back, and use air-tight containers or clips to keep food fresh in the fridge or cupboard.
  • Love your leftovers: freeze a portion for another day or transform into something else if you have cooked too much. Ask for a half portion of meals at restaurants if you think a full size one would be too big, and ask to take your leftovers home.
  • Check the label before you throw it out: sometimes food is till safe to eat after the “best before” date, whereas the “use by” date tells you when it’s no longer safe to eat.
  • Limit you plastic: buy minimally packaged goods, bring your own bag when you shop, and use refillable water bottles and coffee cups.
  • Recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminium: reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfill.
  • Make plant food: Set up a compost bin for fruit and vegetable peelings, and use to give your garden a boost.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Published on Friday, September 30th, 2016, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 17/10/2016

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