World Food Day 2020 falls on the 75th anniversary of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today. There is more buzz surrounding this day than usual. For one, the World Food Programme (WFP) bagged the Nobel Peace Prize this week. The award-winning WFP is the food assistance branch of the United Nations, fighting hunger and food insecurity. WFP has been working with the Indian central and state governments for five decades.
Another reason for the attention to World Food Day 2020 is the increased attention on food security. There is doubt in Asia and Africa about where the next meal is going to come from, in the wake of COVID-19 and locust outbreaks. Climate disasters, cyclones and forest fires have done nothing to quell the concerns.
World Food Day 2020 theme
World Food Day was established by the members of the FAO (part of the United Nations) in 1979. PM Narendra Modi is marking this special day and our nation’s good relations with the FAO by releasing a new 75-rupee coin at a special event. We need to grow more and newer varieties of food to nourish people and sustain the planet. Keeping this in mind, World Food Day 2020 is themed on “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.”
In line with this theme, PM Modi will be dedicating 17 new “bio-fortified varieties” of eight different crops today. These have supposedly three-fold the nutritive value. A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that these new varieties and other ingredients will transform the popular thali into a “nutri-thali”.
Indian govt. celebrating World Food Day 2020
A special event today ties in with the past collaborations with the Nobel prize-winning WFP and with FAO apart from the recent Poshan Maah. “The event on World Food Day 2020 marks the highest priority accorded by the government to agriculture and nutrition, and is a testament of the resolve to completely eliminate hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition,” said the statement.
The government has plans to upscale the production of biofortified crop varieties, which will be linked with the mid-day meal scheme and Anganwadis to make India Kuposhan Mukta. The government is also looking at increasing farmer incomes and bringing in new entrepreneurs with these ingredient
Hunger Action Month
NGO Rise Against Hunger India (RAHI) has designated not only this day but the entire month of October as Hunger Action Month with a series of virtual activities. Rise Against Hunger India will highlight the stories of people across the food chain who work hard every day in tough conditions to make sure that food reaches our homes. Hunger Action Month will showcase the real Food Heroes – the farmers, agri-producers, volunteers, suppliers and others in the chain.
Roti Bank on Wheels
While some children complain about giving up outdoor sports during the lockdown, there are many underprivileged kids who were deprived of basic nutrition. The management of Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, is reaching out to these kids during the pandemic with their “On Wheels” initiative.
A bus deemed Roti Bank on Wheels is collecting food packets from the homes of socially conscious, responsible citizens, and delivering food to underprivileged families. The school’s social initiative seeks to honour the UN SDGs 2 and 3: of “Zero Hunger” and “Good health and well-being” respectively.
Meanwhile, a school in Mumbai has taken a more interactive approach to World Food Day 2020. Jasudben ML School, an ICSE school in Khar, had students and their dads compete in a virtual cooking competition. The school pre-celebrated the Day last weekend so that the maximum number of fathers could participate since they are working from home on weekdays.
Damayanti Bhattacharya, Principal, Jasudben ML School says the idea was to inculcate healthy eating habits in a fun way, since “this year has been hard for everyone”. The teachers had observed that students were learning new things during the lockdown that included chopping veggies and baking. The contest put their new skills to good use, under their dad’s careful supervision. “These are tiny steps towards understanding the sustainability of food,” says Bhattacharya.