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TURA: The future of food security and eradication of hunger can only be accomplished if sustainable agricultural practices are taken up across the country and world, and stressing on this significance, Garo Hills’ crucial educational hub — College of Community Science, Central Agricultural University, organised a special event to celebrate World Food Day on Friday bringing to the fore the importance of scientific research and the utilisation of local food sources as the best source of nutrition.
World Food Day is an annual celebration in the honour of the Food and Agriculture Organization founding date launched by the United Nations in 1945. World Food Day is a global day of action that focuses on food security and hunger issues.
This year, the World Food Day has been thematised on ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together’.
With the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacting food production all over the world, the Dean of the College of Community College, Dr Puspita Das, spoke on ways to turn this calamity into an opportunity for farmers.
“In such a situation, we should focus on production and sale of our locally available food commodities. These are not only rich in nutrition, fresh and organic, but also encourage our farming community to produce more, thereby further improving their economy,” revealed Dr Pushpita Das.
The Global Hunger Index report of 2019 released on October 15 ranked India at 102 out of 117 countries assessed and put it in a ‘serious’ category. It has called for a collective responsibility to tackle the problem. A conscious effort has to be made to ensure that we do not waste food and that the food supplies through the public distribution systems actually reach the poor and needy.
Highlighting the contemporary global scenario, Assistant Professor of the Department of Food Science and nutrition, Natasha R Marak, highlighted a crucial point about the changes taking place in the eating habits of people as a result of urbanisation, globalisation and income growth.
“We have moved from the important health benefits of fiber-rich dishes to highly refined sugars, fats, starch, and processed foods. We spend less time cooking food at home, especially in urban areas preferring to rely on restaurants, street food, supermarkets or fast-food outlets. We need to get back to our roots by focussing on locally available food commodities,” said Marak.
Revealing the statistical data which places Meghalaya with having the highest cases of severe anaemia in the country, she said this was a matter of serious concern because the state has an abundance of iron rich foods available.
“The need of the hour is for nutrition education to be given importance to combat anaemia and malnutrition,” she said.
From the medical point of view, Dr Malcolm Momin gave a series of examples, ways and means on how to boost one’s immunity and stay safe during this pandemic.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is focussing on ‘Time to Build Back Better’. It states that in recent decades, the world has made significant progress in improving agricultural productivity. Although we now produce more than enough food to feed everyone, our food systems are out of balance.
World Food Day is calling for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the crisis, and to make food systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers.
This will require improved social protection schemes and new opportunities offered through digitalisation and e-commerce, but also more sustainable agricultural practices that preserve the earth’s natural resources, our health, and the climate.