This article was originally published by Food Industry Asia and is republished with permission.
World Food Day is a day dedicated to tackling global hunger. Held annually on the 16th of October, individuals and organisations around the world declare their commitment to eradicate worldwide hunger by 2030, ensuring that everyone has access to safe and healthy food. With that goal in mind, the slogan for this year’s World Food Day is “Our Actions Are Our Future”.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 821 million people in the world today suffer chronic undernourishment while, at the same time, 1.9 billion people are overweight. Various factors come into play for the rise in world hunger – conflict, extreme weather events due to climate change, economic slowdown and more.
Zero Hunger is the second goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly. How can companies and private enterprises play a part to accelerate action for Zero Hunger? Here are some actions as suggested by the FAO that can be taken:
1. Eliminate Food Waste:
According to the FAO, one-third of all food produced globally is either wasted or lost. Businesses can take various initiatives to help solve the food waste crisis such as donating unsold or surplus food, encouraging legislation to change food expiry labels, and reaching out directly to consumers to cut down dramatically on food waste.
2. Champion Food Safety:
Both food businesses and manufacturers must strive to adhere to food safety standards to ensure that food safety is observed and enforced throughout the supply chain. Last year, FIA and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched a lab capacity-building initiative, addressing the inability of many developing countries to test for food contaminants. It also aimed to improve the technical competence of food safety management and detection practices throughout the food supply chain. Phase 3 of the initiative was held recently from 8 to 12 October in Vietnam, and an in-country pilot was commenced to serve as a basis for the upscaling of scientists on the testing of food contaminants in all Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries.
3. Share your Knowledge:
It is imperative that companies with effective practices about issues such as reducing waste, protecting the environment or fighting hunger share knowledge with other stakeholders. FIA has been holding multiple sharing sessions, dialogues and roundtables throughout the year, bringing together policymakers, regulators and companies to discuss the latest issues in the food industry. The Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), a collaboration between the Health Promotion Board (HPB), Academy of Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) and FIA, held its 4th Roundtable Dialogue in July 2018, emphasizing on the need to work collectively to accelerate initiatives to combat health challenges in the region.
4. Partner with Academia:
Building strategic partnerships with academia and research institutions is a crucial step to generate information to face food security and nutrition challenges. At FIA’s Food for the Future Summit held in April this year, Her Royal Highness Princess Viktória de Bourbon de Parme, Patroness of Save The Children, talked about the importance of exploring new ways of collaboration, as well the roles that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and research institutions play when it came to innovation.
By FIA Communications