Sat 16 Oct marks World Food Day (WFD). Over 150 countries will take part in the day that commemorates the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945.
The theme for this years celebration is Biodiversity for food security. Current FAO estimates indicate that over 840 million people, mainly in third-world countries, are hungry partly due to an over-reliance on only a few crops: 90 per cent of our animal protein supply comes from 14 mammal and bird species, and 50 per cent of our carbohydrates needs comes from four species of plants (namely wheat, maize, rice and potato). Biodiversity aims to provide a greater variety of food sources.
World Food Day is also promoting research on how to maintain ecological balance. Education includes discouraging the use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers, as well as the adoption of crop rotation and no-tillage agriculture.
FAO believes that the successful adoption of biodiversity will help achieve the millennium development goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015. For information tel. 0657053105, www.fao.org.