AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: FAO Statement on World Food Day (16 October)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Statement of José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN FAO on the occasion of World Food Day on 16 October read on his behalf by Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO

Representative in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia

This year, World Food Day is devoted to analyzing how food and agriculture should evolve in order to face the impacts of climate change.

Thus this year’s World Food Day theme “The climate is changing - Food and agriculture must too.”  

Erratic weather patterns and the increase of pest and disease outbreaks are affecting agricultural productivity and therefore undermining global food security.

As usual, the poorest and most hungry people suffer the most. 80 percent of them live in rural areas.  They earn their living and feed their families from the very sector that bears the brunt of the impacts.

Climate change is already undermining our efforts to end hunger and all other forms of malnutrition by 2030. Today, nearly 800 million people remain food insecure around the world. Almost 160 million children under the age of five are stunted. 

There is growing international recognition that the agricultural sectors can play a transformative role in addressing the impacts of climate change. World Food Day 2016 is an opportunity to identify how best to respond to these challenges.

Actions to promote resilience in agriculture cut across the usual distinction between adaptation and mitigation. In fact, as we promote adaptation, we also mitigate the effects of climate change.

Agriculture and food systems must become more resilient, productive, inclusive and sustainable.  To bolster food security in a changing climate, countries must address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and invest more in rural development. 

Targeted investments in these sectors will build resilience and increase the incomes and productivity of small farmers, lifting millions from poverty.  They will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the health and well-being of ecosystems and all people who depend on them.

In the COP 21 last December in Paris, most countries included agriculture in their Nationally Determined Contributions. In November, these countries will gather for COP 22 in Morocco to put these pledges into motion.

By working together, we can seize the transformative potential of the Agricultural sectors. The climate is changing, food and agriculture must change too.

I thank you for your attention.

Author: Abdoulie Nyockeh
Source: Picture: Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO Representative in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia