World Food Day 2021: Our actions are our future

SELAELO MABELA

THE food we choose and the way we consume it affects our health and that of our planet. As a health and social behaviour change and communication organisation, we at Centre for Communication Impact (CCI), are determined to continuously raise awareness and consciousness about the food that we eat and the ingredients contained therein. We undertake this work as part of our endeavour to push back the frontiers of hunger and poverty across the length and breadth of our inequity-riddled land.

SELAELO MABELA

 October 16 is World Food Day, declared by the UN. This year, it is celebrated amid rising food security challenges marked by a growing number of people who go to bed hungry. Covid-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the global food security systems. This raises major challenges particularly lack of clearly-marked front of Package Labels on too many products. The CCI would like to see the government enact legislation that compels manufacturers to adhere to clearly marking their packages so that consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing such products. 

The CCI and other food policy partners have constantly raised concern regarding unrestricted ubiquitous sugary drinks. Hence our call and support for a sharp increase in the so-called sugar tax from its current 11% to 20%.

This year’s World Food Day comes just a day before World Poverty Day (October 17). Notably, the days and what they represent are intrinsically intertwined. They bring the attention and focus of the human race to the socio-economic inequalities that breed hunger, starvation, poverty and consequently – the demise of millions of people world-wide. The CCI supports World Food Day in its endeavour to prick society’s conscience to propel humanity to take a centre-stage by providing hope to the multitudes trapped in constant need for a proper meal by ensuring that no one go to bed on an empty stomach. 

Every year, the CCI joins the international community to celebrate World Food Day “to appreciate the amazing food we eat, but also to tackle world hunger”. The annual World Food Day on October 16 also marks the creation of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN) in October 1945. FAO’s Latin motto is “fiat panis”, which translated into English means “let there be bread”.

According to FAO’s latest statistics, more than 3 billion people (almost 40% of the world’s population) cannot afford a healthy diet.

Thus on World Food Day, the CCI leads South Africa to join more than 150 countries in uniting to raise awareness regarding the issues surrounding poverty and hunger. We at the CCI urge our government, as we do global multilateral organisations, to redouble their effort in accentuating the war-on-want, malnutrition, poverty and hunger. 

This year’s theme for the World Food Day is: “Our actions are our future – Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.” 

We at the CCI and our partners care deeply for this day because we recognise that the way we produce, consume and, sadly, waste food exacts a heavy toll on our planet, putting unnecessary pressure on natural resources, the environment and climate.

We also join hands with the World Food Programme (WFP), in its priority campaign for “Zero Hunger”, an objective through which we “pledge to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.  The WFP received the Nobel Prize in Peace for 2020 for their efforts to combat hunger, contribute to peace in conflict areas, and for playing a leading role in stopping the use of hunger as a weapon for war.

Together with like-minded institutions around the world the CCI and their partners believe in a world where no child should starve, and a world where poverty can be defeated. The CCI regard access to healthy food as a fundamental human right and a crucial element of global health justice.

  • Selaelo Mabela is Project Manager: Food Policy at the Centre for Communication Impact (CCI), formerly known as Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA). The CCI is a South African local Health and Social Behaviour Change and Communication Organization. It is a Non-Profit Organization dedicated to designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating evidence-informed social and behaviour change communication programmes to influence behaviour change, increase service utilization and positively influence knowledge, attitudes and social norms. 

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