World Food Day 2013
Event location: Worldwide
Date: 16th Oct 2013
Theme: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition
Africa can feed itself while: i) providing its people with healthy and affordable food; ii) sustaining its land and conserving its natural resources; and iii) creating more employment and generating more wealth in the agricultural sector.
Farming and pastoralism have shaped most of Africa, contributed to its beauty, offered unique ways of life and created most of the employment in rural areas. Africa today cannot survive without its farmers and pastoralists because they supply our vital need of food from the day we are born. But in our African countries as well as across the world, we are damaging our life support systems more and more - land, water, wildlife and climate - and it is a collective responsibility to stop, think and change the way we see, produce, market, buy, and dispose food. We ought to do it if we want to continue to feed ourselves and to eat healthy food for a better and longer life expectancy.
Whoever and wherever we are in Africa, we are connected to the people who produce our food, and those people are connected and dependent on the land and water they use to grow our future food. Sustainable food systems must sustain people as well as the environment. Our rapidly changing climate must be included in the equation when we discuss agriculture, food, nutrition and trade. The food in our plate will be healthier if it is fresh (shortest distance between producer and final consumer) and our own environment less polluted by a poor management of waste and harmful and non-sustainable sources of energy. For that to happen we need to buy local and seasonal, we need to create access to local markets, improve infrastructure like roads and processing factories where crops are grown and livestock bred, legislate trade policies aligned with the principles of sustainable agriculture, etc. Connecting more directly farmers and pastoralists to the end consumers of their food will also help reduce market prices with less middlemen and better nutritional value.
Next time you're having lunch or dinner, kindly take a minute and ask yourself: who grew this food? Who owns the land where this was grown? How did it get here? What has been added to this food?
Following the 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, signed by most African countries, progress has been made to address the chronic issue of hunger and food insecurity, but very few have met their commitment to invest at least 10% of their national budget to agriculture and many key success factors towards food security and good nutrition are far from being guaranteed, such as investment in small-scale farmers and pastoralists, good infrastructure and access to markets, land rights, sustainable agricultural and livestock technical skills for farmers and pastoralists, research... Ensuring sustainable food systems for food security and healthy nutrition is first and foremost a governmental responsibility but it is also a collective responsibility that relies on citizens, the private sector, civil society and farmers and pastoralists' associations.
ACORD marks this important international date of the World Food Day in 17 African countries. We partner with local communities, civil society and governmental authorities to reinforce this collective responsibility of achieving the MDG1 (27% of the Sub-Saharan Africa population is still undernourished - 32% in 1992)). This means going beyond eradicating hunger and aiming to ensure food security, food sovereignty and good and healthy nutrition for all.
We believe you matter and so does your food. STOP. THINK. CHANGE.
Celebrating World Food Day in South Sudan
In October 2013, South Sudan is faced with acute food insecurity and high level of malnutrition due to low level of food crops and livestock production thus reduced income, high food price and persistent insecurity that threatens the livelihood of the affected populations. Most South Sudanese communities in rural areas have little knowledge of good nutrition and many people, especially children under five, suffer from malnutrition and related diseases. Food is rare and either consumed or sold as soon as produced, reducing to nil the opportunity to store agricultural and livestock produce for future use. Food shortages often happen during the lean season (April-June) which started a month earlier this year, resulting in high food costs. In Juba, in March, the price of Sorghum was 68% above the five-year average. Small-scale farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolks cannot control their stock and thus cannot influence prices, being fully dependent on middle-men who take advantage of food shortages to increase their margins. Most fishermen in South Sudan, particularly in Terekeka County, one of the regions where ACORD operates, sell all their most nutritious fish produce and in the end rarely eat fish themselves. Food insecurity has a direct impact on nutrition and health.
ACORD is currently working with 14 farmers' associations (420 small-scale farmers - 29% women)) in Central and Eastern Equatoria States (5 in Terekeka, 6 in Lobonok and 3 in Magwi counties; 10 fishermen' associations and 2 Fishery Cooperatives in Terekeka County and Central Equatoria State comprising of 480 members (31% women).
The key cash crops and staple food crops produced by the population in those areas include: groundnuts, cassava, maize, sorghum, beans, sweet potatoes. Pastoralists in the regions are involved in rearing animals (cows, goats and sheep) for home consumption. Pastoralism represents 15% of the GDP and employs directly or indirectly, 70% of the population. Fishing is also a primary livelihood activity for 12-15% of the population. Some of the fishermen are also involved in subsistence farming, particularly in Central Equatoria State.
Fresh catch, Lake Victoria
Key issues affecting local communities in Juba, Magwi and Terekeka counties are:
• Acute food insecurity;
• High level of malnutrition;
• Low level of food crop and livestock production;
• Limited knowledge of nutrition issues
• High level of post-harvest losses
• Lack of sustainable food security systems in those areas
Within the framework of its South Sudan Food Security programme, ACORD strengthens the capacity of small scale farmers and fisher folks to improve food security and nutrition at household an community level, through the establishment of sustainable post-harvest storage techniques and facilities, better access to local and national markets and improved food security systems in South Sudan.
ACORD takes the opportunity of the World Food Day to undertake several activities aiming at addressing these issues:
- awareness and sensitisation meetings in Juba, Magwi and Terekeka counties, focusing on popularising food systems and their linkages to food security and nutrition. Each group (farmers, pastoralists, fishermen) will be supported in understanding the specific issues affecting their production and access to market, and locally-owned solutions to address food security issues. 6 meetings will be held on the 16 October (600 participants).
- ACORD will facilitate 4 radio talk shows: 2 in Juba using Miraya and Bhakita FM radio stations and 2 in Magwi County using Magwi FM Radio station on sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition. The radio talk shows will focus on sensitising small-scale farmers to reduce post-harvest losses and encourage them to save part of their produce for their own family consumption. This will be possible as soon as field and storage losses are prevented (resulting in productivity increase). The same will be discussed and guidance provided for fisher folks. The use of the radio talk shows is to ensure that the awareness messages reach as many people as possible. Based on previous experience, it is likely that at least 500 people will directly share their views and ask questions on those issues during the talk shows, through direct phone calls and text messages.