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World Food Day 2023: Water is life, water is food

world food day 2023/food/water

World Food Day 2023: Water is life, water is food

 

This year’s World Food Day 2023 focuses on the theme, ‘Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind’, which aims to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as the foundation of food. The campaign focus by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is on taking water action in support of food systems. It also calls for increased water use efficiency in the production of food, animal feed and biofuel, while ensuring water is distributed equally, aquatic food systems safeguarded, and nobody is left behind.

 

Water is essential to life, and it is a key requirement for agriculture and food production. By recognising that water is life and water is food, we should understand that it is not just about providing food, it is about providing the means to grow that food sustainably and ensuring access to clean water for drinking. Leaving no one behind ensures that everyone has access to clean and safe water for both consumption and agricultural activities.

 

It is important to point out that Agriculture accounts for 72 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals. Rapid population growth, urbanization, economic development, and climate change are putting the planet’s water resources under increasing stress. Water availability and quality are deteriorating fast due to decades of poor use and management, over extraction of groundwater, pollution, and climate change.

 

In June this year, soon after his inauguration, President Bola Tinubu declared an immediate “State of Emergency” on food insecurity in the country. The move was seen as part of an aggressive push to boost agricultural productivity and reduce the high prices of major staple foods in Nigeria. The declaration of state of emergency came amidst experts’ concerns over the continuous decline in the purchasing power of Nigerians, amid poor income and climate change effects on food prices.

 

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), revealed that the country’s food inflation rate had steeply climbed to 24.82 per cent in May from 24.61 per cent in April. The situation worsened due to the aftermath of government policies such as the immediate removal of petrol subsidies leading to increased transportation costs, and the move to unify forex rates, among others.

 

Other major factors identified to be contributing to food insecurity in Nigeria include poverty, climate change, conflict general insecurity, increasing population, poor policy implementation, inefficient agricultural practices, post-harvest losses and low budgetary allocation to agriculture, among others.

 

In the past decade, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria has been increasing significantly. In effect, high levels of poverty make it difficult for people to access and afford nutritious food. Between 2016 and 2022, the population of Nigerian men living in extreme poverty rose from 35.3 million in 2016 to 44.7 million last year just as that of women increased from 34.7 million in 2016 to 43.7 million last year, according to Statista. While the number of men living on less than $1.90 per day in the country reached around 44.7 million, the count was at 43.7 million for women.

 

Efficient, sustainable, and equitable water resources management is essential for the future of food, people, and the planet. We can all start by taking action in our personal lives, by choosing local, seasonal, and fresh foods, and reducing food waste. Just like the FAO, now is the time, in our opinion for governments to re-evaluate their support to food and agriculture. It is pertinent, in our view, that governments design science and evidence-based policies that capitalize on data, innovation and cross-sectoral coordination to better plan and manage water.

 

It is even more imperative that the authorities support these policies with increased investment, legislation, technologies and capacity development, while incentivizing farmers and the private sector to engage in integrated solutions for a more efficient use of water, and for its conservation.

 

How to Get Involved with World Food Day 2023?

 

  • Learn About Food Issues: Learn about the problems with the world’s food supply, hunger, and sustainable farming methods.

 

  • Support Food Banks: Give non-perishable food products to your neighbourhood food banks or offer your time to assist with food distribution.

 

 

  • Reduce Food Waste: Be aware of and take action to prevent food waste in your home and community.

 

  • Organize Food Drives: Plan food drives or fundraising activities to gather supplies for those experiencing food insecurity.

 

  • Support Farmers: To support small-scale farmers and sustainable agriculture, buy locally sourced and sustainably made food items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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