#AsianRestaurant; #PrairieRestaurant; #NewImmigrants
Toronto/Canadian-Media: A particular type of comfort food is offered by Asian restaurants Across Canada, with their neon signs glowing in almost every community including the smallest Prairie towns, which are struggling to hold on to grocery stores, gas stations and banks, media reports said.
SK Restaurants. Website
The stories of families running the businesses with their locally owned restaurants, reflect an important part of Canadian identity of new immigrants in helping small towns clinging to existence.
As these communities observe cycle of planting, growing and harvesting.
#UN; #WorldFoodSystem; #GoodFoodForAll; #farming; #Covid19; #RisingHunger
New York/Canadian-Media: Young people are taking a leading role in shaping fair and equitable food systems around the world, senior UN officials affirmed on Tuesday during a global youth dialogue on the theme of “Good Food for All”.
Workshops in villages in Tanzania brought local farmers together to discuss inclusive agriculture and sustainability. Image credit: CIFOR/Nkumi Mtimgwa
he online discussions, which centered around topics such as agriculture, education, and climate change, will serve as direct input to a landmark UN Food Systems Summit, due to be held in September.
More than a plateful
Transforming food systems is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said in a video message for the event.
She highlighted how “food is much bigger than what is on your plate”, noting key connections with health, environment, and culture.
Profit over purpose
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, explained why food systems much change on a planet where half of all children do not have access to healthy diets, amid a “worrying increase” in overweight and obesity.
“Too often, food systems put profit over purpose. This places the most nutritious foods often out of reach for many households”, she said.
COVID-19 and rising hunger
The UN Food Systems Summit is organized around five “Action Tracks” to foster initiatives on issues such as boosting “nature-positive” food production and shifting to sustainable consumption patterns.
Janya Green from the United States is a youth co-chair on Action Track 1, which covers ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all. She has been working on community food gardens since she was 12.
“As you all know, hunger worldwide is a huge problem. The number of undernourished people continued to increase in 2019. Even before taking COVID-19 into account, hunger was predicted to rise. If we do not reverse these current trends, the SDG zero-hunger target will not be met,” she warned.
‘The future is youth’
The pandemic has exposed deep-rooted inequities, including in food systems, the UN Deputy Secretary-General observed. While young people are among those hit hard by the aftershocks, Ms. Mohammed said they have also been resilient, converting challenges into opportunities.
Agnes Kalibata, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to the Food Systems Summit, stressed that it would be impossible to hold the event without engaging with youth.
Ms. Kalibata, who is from Rwanda, recalled that young people make up 77 per cent of the total population in Africa, and around 50 per cent of the global population.
#LoC; #VHP; #Farming; #ViableCareerPath; #VeteranHistoryProject
Washington/Canadian-Media: Two panels to highlight farming as a viable career path for veterans will be hosted by the Library of Congress (LoC) Veterans History Project (VHP) with an aim of transitioning civilian life and introducing programs that support those who pursue farming.
Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Image credit: Library of Congress
Focusing on the benefits and challenges of farming in urban and rural settings, the events will premiere on the VHP’s Facebook page. The comment section would comprise panelists and moderators to answer questions.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 18 million veterans in the United States would be able to avail the opportunity to become entrepreneurs in farming and gain knowledge and hands-on experience in land management and other skills.
The panels will help address questions and concerns veterans may have about how to apply their experience and skillset to their new careers.
The panel on March 26 will feature Justin Butts, a 32-year-old African American Navy veteran who turned his childhood love of farming into a full-time business in upstate New York.
“I always wanted to be a farmer since I was younger, and it was just a matter of finding a path to get there. While in the Navy, I developed an autoimmune disease, and I became more interested in where my food was coming from, so I got more involved in farming,” Butts explained. “There are a lot of resources to learn farming skills, but I say the best way to get into farming is to start farming; leasing land is not as expensive as leasing an apartment.”
Butts, a chef-turned-farmer, credits his new career path to his grandfather, who had been a farmer in North Carolina. Butts leases land to raise his livestock, holds a separate job as livestock manager, and owns Butts Bros Handmade Lard Soap since 2018.
Friday, March 19
Veteran Grown: Urban Farming, 12 p.m. ET
Farmer veterans in urban settings and leaders from national advocacy organizations that provide training and direct support to them would be featured in this panel will feature.
Their specialties include beekeeping, compost management, and vegetable crops. Margo Hale of the National Center for Appropriate Technology and the training program Armed to Farm will moderate the panel, which will include special remarks by Rep. Kim Schrier of Washington, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.
Friday, March 26
Veteran Grown: Farming, 12 p.m. ET
Farmer veterans in more traditional settings would be featured in this panel, some of whom have benefitted from specialized farmer training programs and one-on-one mentorship.
Their specialties include vegetable crops, beekeeping, pig farming, soap making, and entrepreneurship. Damon Helton of The Farm at Barefoot Bend in Arkansas will moderate the panel, which will include special remarks by Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.
Several challenges are faced by the military veterans while transitioning to civilian life, including physical and psychological traumas due to injuries sustained on the battlefield, resulting in affecting their mental and emotional health, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Farming and other agricultural-related careers have been shown by personal testimonials to be beneficial to veterans, their families, and communities, no matter where they live.
Veterans History Project was created by the Congress in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of United States war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The project aims to help future generations have a better understanding of the realities of military service. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371–5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news. Follow VHP on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.
As the world’s largest library built in 1800 in Washington D.C., LoC offers access to the creative record of the United States, and from around the world, both on-site and online, and is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
While maintaining one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world, LoC also bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the library in all areas of science, technology, business, and economics.
#FAO; #SustainableGlobalEconomy; #Bioeconomy; #FoodLoss; #plasticPollution;
FAO/Canadian-Media: Wasted food. Polluted seas. Landfill sites full to bursting. After years of using our precious natural resources as if they were limitless, the outcomes of our behaviours are making it clear that it is time to change our ways. And the answer? Well, a no-waste, environmentally and socially considerate bioeconomy is an excellent place to start.
So, what is a sustainable, circular bioeconomy?
Essentially, a sustainable, circular bioeconomy is a system that is groundbreaking and restorative, one that boosts industry and the economy but also protects our planet for future generations. This includes shifting towards bio-based alternatives to plastics and fossil fuels, eliminating the use of toxic chemicals and cutting down on waste through innovative materials, products, systems and business models. It also means harnessing the power of bioscience and biotechnology to address the challenges we face, like providing food, feed, fibres, wood-products and bio-based chemicals, including alternatives to plastics, for a growing population while preserving our natural resources.
Here are five ways that FAO is helping the transition to a sustainable and circular bioeconomy for better food production, better nutrition and livelihoods and a better environment:
1) Reducing food loss and waste
We know that a growing population and rising incomes will lead to increased demand for food and agricultural products, putting more pressure on natural resources. Alleviating problems related to intensive crop and livestock farming or overfishing means being more responsible in our food production and consumption, reusing food that would ordinarily end up in landfills and increasing food production in a sustainable way.
FAO is working with countries around the world to analyse food value chains and reduce food loss at various stages. Currently, 14 percent of all food produced is lost from harvest up to retail. A substantial amount is also lost at consumer level. A circular bioeconomy means reducing food loss and waste by strengthening value chains but also by finding new uses for lost or wasted food.
With their expanding populations, cities have a big part to play in consuming more responsibly. FAO has helped the municipality of Lima, Peru to create a food waste taskforce that has established a composting centre for managing biomass waste. As a result, the amount of organic waste disposed of in landfills and city drainage has been cut dramatically.
2) Tackling plastic pollution
One major goal of a sustainable and circular bioeconomy is to use more materials made from natural, biodegradable resources, cutting down on plastic waste and CO2 emissions.
Reducing plastic used on farms is a big part of this. These plastics can be especially hard to recycle because many are contaminated with pesticides and fertilisers. Consequently, FAO is launching a new Agricultural Plastics Initiative to assess the magnitude, fate and impacts of plastic products used in agri-food systems globally. The initiative will offer alternatives to plastics and promote the use of biopesticides and organic fertilizers to reduce contaminated plastic waste.
Other innovative examples for cutting down on plastics are also in place elsewhere. For example, in Mexico, a partnership between a prominent adult beverage company and a car manufacturing company aims to produce bio-based materials with by-products from the processing of agave. Often, much of the residue is burnt or sent to landfills. Now, the two companies are developing a lightweight, bioplastic from the agave residues. These bioplastics will be used in the car company’s Mexican assembly plants.
Two major goals of a sustainable, circular bioeconomy are increasing the use of biodegradable resources to cut down on plastic waste and diversifying our food production to help protect and promote biodiversity.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Image credit: Facebook page
3) Diversifying our diets and moving our reliance away from only a few crops
Of over 6 000 plant species that have been cultivated worldwide for food, we rely on only 9 crops for 66 percent of our food production.
FAO’s work on increasing biodiversity, particularly in agri-food systems, focuses on enhancing the number of foods and species on which we rely. This can help promote crop diversification, moving away from the economic benefits of monocropping.
Moreover, diversification boosts nutrition. In many agricultural communities, people rely on one staple crop whose seasonality implies a period of food shortage. Boosting promotion of local, lesser known globally but highly nutritious crops, such as cassava or millet, can help communities better fulfil their dietary needs and support the biodiversity of crops grown.
4) Promoting bio-based products as alternatives to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides
The overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides already leads to problems of water and soil pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Finding bio-based solutions to these chemicals is that much more important with a growing population to feed.
One innovative example of bio-based solutions comes from China where the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance are currently carrying out a programme that explores using straw as a fertiliser. Straw is a common by-product of wheat and grain production and using it as a fertiliser solves two problems in one: cutting down on the use of chemical fertilisers and giving farmers an alternative to burning the left-over straw, which is a common practice but a large source of pollution.
FAO’s climate-smart livestock project helps farmers adopt methods like rotational grazing and composting for pastures, which helps prevent land degradation and makes livestock farming more sustainable. ©FAO
5) Restoring degraded lands and improving livestock management
Many people around the world rely on livestock farming for their livelihoods but doing so in unsustainable ways can lead to land degradation. FAO’s Climate-Smart Livestock project promotes sustainable livestock management in many parts of the world. For example, in Ecuador, an initiative implemented with the support of Global Environment Facility and the Ecuadorian government provides farmers with practical training such as how to install irrigation systems, drinking fountains and milking infrastructure. Farmers also learn new production methods like rotational grazing, composting for pastures and producing their own animal feed, which helps prevent land degradation and makes livestock farming more sustainable.
There is no single path for establishing a bioeconomy and sustainability does not happen automatically. However, with successful examples already in place, FAO, together with the International Sustainable Bioeconomy Working Group, is building on this momentum by working towards the creation of Sustainable Bioeconomy Guidelines. These will include good practices, tools and guidance on how to develop monitoring frameworks, helping countries implement national bioeconomy strategies, policies and programmes in a sustainable way.
A sustainable, circular bioeconomy makes sense, not only environmentally but also socially and economically. Sustainability is an opportunity, one that we need to take to protect our planet and secure a better future.
#Toronto, #LiveCookOffContinentsApart; #WinnipegAjayChopra; #SherFlourMills; #MDHSpices; #MumbaiAjayChopra;
Toronto, Oct 18 (Canadian-Media): Winnipeg's Ajay Chopra's passion for public and government relations, his entrepreneurship with strong work ethics to provides solution-oriented strategies that create mutually beneficial collaborations across a wide range of industries led him to participate in First Live Cook-Off Continents Apart! with celebrity Chef Ajay Chopra of Mumbai.
Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian-Media catches up with Winnipeg's Ajay Chopra over the phone to discuss First Live Cook-Off Continents Apart!
Ajay Chopra. Image credit: Twitter handle
Asha Bajaj: What inspired you to do this live event?
Ajay Chopra: I have a great passion for public and government relations to assists clients across a wide range of industries to provides solution-oriented strategies to create mutually beneficial collaborations. One of my hobbies is cooking at home. I am very fond of making butter chicken. During these unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected the whole of the universe, I had plenty of time at home. It was then that I thought of improving my butter chicken recipe. I had come across the name of my namesake Ajay Chopra, from Mumbai, an acclaimed culinarian and one of the most celebrated chefs in the Indian television and food industry with hundreds and thousands of followers on his social media account. He is also well known for his butter chicken recipe. Butter chicken is one of the most sought after dish not only in Canada but also across the globe. The Canadians lack the talent to make the butter chicken as delicious as Indians do. I connected with my namesake and learned that he used 12 ingredients to make this dish. I tried it but was still not satisfied. It was then that I got in touch with my namesake in India and asked how can the recipe of this dish become popular in Canada. My namesake then suggested that I introduce him to Canadians and it will create a larger audience for his signature dish of Butter Chicken. He came up with the idea of a live presentation of his signature recipe of Butter chicken, a favorite cuisine across the globe. The event was sponsored by SHER Flour Mills and MDH Spices and further supported by Growing Pathways to Immigration, and by Imagebuilderz, Canada’s foremost PR experts, who will be Media partners for this unique event.
Image credit: Image: Special Live Insta.
To Ajay Chopra: How do you think this live event would be beneficial to the audience?
I felt it my honor to collaborate with India’s leading Celebrity Chef, my namesake with whom I’ve forged a friendship to present a live performance of the online cooking lesson. Chef Ajay Chopra from Mumbai was interested that many of his Indian fans and chefs should come to Canada and teach the people about the recipe. His business would grow and many Indian chefs would find employment in Canada. I could foresee the prosperity of Indo-Canadian relations, one of the main aims of my entrepreneurship. With a goal to create a diversion during these challenging times, viewers would be able to see not only how butter chicken is cooked from scratch, but also to learn during this live performance in an Instagram session
To Ajay Chopra: Do you plan to hold such live events in the future also?
I would love to but it all depends on the response to this event from the audience. We would come to know about the outcome of this presentation after the event. And if there is a demand for such shows we would definitely go forward with this idea. Being an entrepreneur, and with a desire to help communities across the world, I am also open to adopting other innovative ideas for success.
(Compiled by Asha Bajaj)
A special Live Cookoff by Chef Ajay Chopra of Mumbai, India, & Ajay Chopra of Winnipeg, Canada to kick off Oct 17
#Toronto; #SherFlourMills; #MDHSpices; #AjayChopra; #Mumbai; #India; #Winnipeg; #Canada; #LiveCookoff
Toronto, Oct 14 (Canadian-Media): Sponsored by SHER & MDH, an exciting special COVID Cook-off, continents apart, presents SHER FLour Mills and MDH Spices showcasing India’s world famous Master Chef, the Big Daddy, Ajay Chopra from Mumbai and his namesake local entrepreneur, Ajay Chopra from Winnipeg, Canada's special Live Cookoff on Saturday, October 17 on Instagram Mumbai 8:30 IST, Winnipeg 10 AM EST, and Toronto 11 AM EST.
“Ajay Chopra from Winnipeg and I connected online, and I was thrilled to learn that I had a Canadian namesake. The Canadian Chopra is a successful community-minded entrepreneur with connections to politics and business. We started chatting, and I really appreciated his warmth and his zaniness. We decided that a Cookoff with my namesake would be fun and cool, while allowing me to introduce my fans to Canada. And it will create a larger audience for my signature dish of Butter Chicken,” said Mumbai's Chef Ajay Chopra an acclaimed culinarian as well as one of the most celebrated chefs in the Indian television and food industry.
Chef Chopra will present his signature recipe of Butter chicken Live which is a favourite cuisine across the globe.
“Butter Chicken is a staple of Indian cuisine, and we felt this was an amazing concept to bring to people Live while learning direct from a master chef and my friend Ajay Chopra. We are proud to sponsor this very unique and rare special COVID cookoff,” says Hari Brar, CEO, SHER Flour Mills.
“It’s a great honour and gift to collaborate for this rare online cooking lesson with India’s leading Celebrity Chef, my namesake and a wonderful person with whom I’ve forged a friendship. In this Live Instagram session, we will be cooking butter chicken from scratch together for viewers to follow and learn. Our goal is to create a diversion during these challenging times,” says Ajay Chopra from Winnipeg, Canada.
With a passion for public and government relations that grew from a series of internships while still a student, first at the Canadian Embassy in Paris and then at the Canadian High Commission in London, England, Ajay Chopra from Winnipeg also possesses strategies that create mutually beneficial collaborations for clients and their target audience.
Join him Live on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/ajaychopra99/
The event is further supported by Growing Pathways to Immigration and also by Imagebuilderz, Canada’s foremost PR experts, who will be Media partners for this unique event.
"We are delighted to come on board as a media partner and look forward to the culinary experience and partnership between Canada's Ajay Chopra and India's Ajay Chopra," says Renu Mehta, CEO, Imagebuilderz in Toronto.
#UN; #FoodSystem; #WorldFoodWeek; #FAO;
UN, Oct 12 (Canadian-Media): The UN chief António Guterres set out a new plan to transform the world’s food systems on Monday - coinciding with the start of World Food Week - which will culminate in a major summit, scheduled to take place in September next year.
A woman in Mali takes care of a community garden which is part of the World Food Programme's capacity building project. Image credit: WFP/Simon Pierre Diouf
In a video message, Mr. Guterres highlighted the importance of food systems, and their impact on economies, environment and health, but warned that they are “one of the main reasons we are failing to stay within our planet’s ecological boundaries”.
A timely Nobel Prize
This year, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the fragility of the world’s food supplies to the fore, with millions going hungry. At the same time, the climate crisis continues to wreak havoc on food security.
To address these issues, the Secretary-General is convening a Food Systems Summit next year to raise global awareness and spur actions to rethink food systems, so that they can play a more positive role in ending hunger, reducing diet-related disease, and help in the fight against climate change.
The event will be held at UN Headquarters in New York in September, in conjunction with the next UN General Assembly opening session and, said Mr. Guterres, will focus the attention of world leaders on the issue.
“The awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) highlights the Summit’s timeliness”, he added, underlining the need for global engagement and action for inclusive and sustainable food systems, and calling on everyone to join these conversations.
The Summit will be run by a specially appointed envoy, former Rwandan Minister for Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata. At a press briefing on Monday, she emphasized the need for food systems – which are responsible for trillions of dollars in wasted food, and significant greenhouse gas emissions – to radically change.
The Special Envoy told reporters that the Summit puts food and food systems at the heart of the UN’s Decade of Action, the 10 years left we have left to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Work to make sure the Summit is a success has already begun, she explained, with a scientific group, made up of experts drawn from a range of disciplines, having met over the summer to ensure that the event is based on sound scientific principles.
This November, dialogues will begin at a national level, involving governments and other stakeholders. These discussions, said Ms. Kalibata, will be critical, and will culminate in a meeting in Rome next Summer, at which actions for inclusive and sustainable food systems will be identified, and taken forward as recommendations for the Secretary-General to submit to world leaders at the September Summit.
‘Grow, nourish, sustain. Together’
This Friday, on World Food Day, the Summit team is holding a 24-hour global relay conversation, involving actors, celebrity chefs, and young people, to raise awareness about the unsustainable nature of the global food system, and will also serve as the launch of the Summit dialogues.
The main World Food Day events will begin at 2pm, Central European Time, with an opening ceremony involving key UN officials, Pope Francis, Queen Letizia of Spain and other prominent figures.
Other events include a video mapping show, which will be broadcast live from the Colosseum, and the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Italian capital.
#UN; #Asia; #Pacific; #ChronicUnderNourishment; #FoodSecurity; #FAO
UN, Sep 6 (Canadian-Media): Transforming food systems in Asia and the Pacific to make them more sustainable, resilient and productive, is vital for countries to rebound from the impact of COVID-19 and address chronic undernourishment, a UN regional forum on food security has heard.
Gathered virtually at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s thirty-fifth Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, governments, civil society organizations and the private sector highlighted the importance of innovation, solidarity, coherence and partnerships among and within countries.
A tea grower walks through a tea garden in Viet Nam where sustainable farming techniques are used to prevent land degradation. Image credit: UNEP/Lisa Murray
Big data, digital economy and mobile technology will help producers achieve such transformations, Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General said on Friday, the Conference’s final day.
For instance, a smartphone in the hands of a smallholder farmer is a “new farming tool”, he added.
“Leveraging data, innovation and technology has shown that, here in Asia and the Pacific, we have brilliant minds, scientists and an entrepreneurial spirit that will lead us through the challenges presented by COVID-19 and help us conquer malnutrition and poverty,” said Mr. Qu.
Agricultural innovation can also reduce back-breaking drudgery, and regional food chains can benefit from innovations such as drones, satellite imagery, big data and block chains, the Conference heard.
The Regional Conferences, held every two years, are a platform for ministers of agriculture and senior officials, NGOs, private sector and other stakeholders in the field to explore joint and coherent solutions to shared challenges confronting food security and agriculture. The 2020 Regional Conference was held from 1 to 4 September.
COVID upended efforts to fight hunger According to FAO, the Asia-Pacific region – the planet’s most populous – is also home to over half of the world’s undernourished people, and the number is feared to rise, with the impact of COVID-19. In southern Asia alone, the figure could rise by a third, to some 330 million in the next decade.
Conference Chair Yeshey Penjor, Minister for Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan, reiterated the need to strengthen collaboration to deal with the challenges.
“We must prepare for higher risks ahead of us and make sure that there is sustainability in the food supply chain,” he said.
Working ‘Hand in Hand’
New solutions, such as the FAO’s Hand in Hand Initiative, which “matches” stakeholders, bringing the right partners together at the right time, can help.
According to FAO, some 44 countries with limited capacity or hit by crisis have been invited to join the Initiative as beneficiaries, 80 as contributors, and some 20 have expressed interest to join as both.
The rollout of the Initiative coincided with the onset of COVID-19 and the urgent need to deal with its complex impacts on agri-food systems, said FAO, adding that the Initiative is helping support evidence-based efforts to prevent breakdown of and address emerging threats to food systems.
“The HIH approach to analysis and partnership-building has proven to be a useful model for coordinating integrated rapid response to COVID-19 impacts on food systems, particularly at the local or territorial level,” it added.
FAO Director-General Qu also said that while the COVID-19 has hit countries and societies, innovations are bringing people closer together.
“So while we are separated by some 11 time zones, we have still managed to come together, have thought-provoking discussions and reach consensus on a number of important issues,” he concluded.
#UN; #FoodSystem; #Africa; #SDGs; #UNSDGs; #EndHunger; #farming
UN, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Agnes Kalibata, the former Rwandan Minister for Agriculture, has been tasked with leading the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit. In an interview with UN News, she outlined her vision for a transformed international system that is more resilient, fairer, and less harmful to the planet.
Food systems involve all the stages that lead up to the point when we consume food, including the way it is produced, transported, and sold. Launching a policy brief on food security in June, UN chief António Guterres warned of an “impending food emergency”, unless immediate action is taken.
Ms. Kalibata told UN News that her commitment to improving food systems is closely linked to her early life as the daughter of refugees.
“I was born in a refugee camp in Uganda, because my Rwandan parents were forced to leave their home around the time of colonial independence in the early 60s.
Thanks to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), were given land, which allowed my parents to farm, buy a few cows, and make enough money to send me and my siblings to school. This allowed me to experience, first-hand, how agriculture, in a functioning food system, can provide huge opportunities for smallholder communities.
I took this appreciation with me when I eventually returned to Rwanda, as Minister for Agriculture, working with smallholders and seeing them grab every opportunity to turn their lives around against all odds. This was probably the most fulfilling period in my life.
But, I have also seen what can happen when threats like climate change, conflict and even more recently, a pandemic like Covid 19, hit the world's farmers, especially those who are smallholders, like my parents were.
As a daughter of farmers, I understand how much people can suffer, because of systems that are breaking down. I often reflect that I, and other children of farmers my age that made it through school, were the lucky ones because climate change hits small farmers the hardest, destroying their capacities to cope.
My experience has shown me that, when food systems function well, agriculture can provide huge opportunities for smallholder communities. I am a product of functional food systems, and I am fully convinced of the power of food systems to transform lives of smallholder households and communities, and bring about changes to entire economies.
I’m extremely passionate about ending hunger in our lifetime: I believe it’s a solvable problem. I don’t understand why 690 million people are still going to bed hungry, amidst so much plenty in our world, and with all the knowledge , technology and resources.
I have made it my mission to understand why this is the case, and how we can overcome the challenges we see along the way. That is why I gladly accepted the offer by the UN Secretary General to be his Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit.
Why food systems need to change
Today’s food systems do not respond to what we need as people. The cause of death for one in three people around the world is related to what they eat. Two billion people are obese, one trillion dollars’ worth of food is wasted every year, yet many millions still go hungry.
Food systems have an impact on the climate. They are responsible for around one third of harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change, which is interfering massively in our ability to produce food, upending farmers’ lives, and making the seasons harder to predict.
We have built up a lot of knowledge around the things that we’re doing wrong, and we have the technology to allow us to do things differently, and better. This isn’t rocket science: it’s mostly a question of mobilizing energy, and securing political commitment for change.
Galvanise and engage
The main impetus behind the Food Summit is the fact that the we are off track with all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that relate to food systems, principally ending poverty and hunger, and action on the climate and environment.
We want to use the Summit to galvanise and engage people, raising awareness about the elements that are broken, and what we need to change; to recognize that we’re way off track with the SDGs, and raise our ambitions; and to secure firm commitments to actions that will transform our current food systems for the better.
Pulling together the UN System
The UN system is already doing a lot of work in this area, and we’ve pulled together several agencies and bodies to support the Summit.
We have formed a UN Task Force to channel the existing research, so that nothing falls through the cracks, which will work closely with a core group of experts we have assembled, which is looking at scientific data pooled from institutions all around the world. At the same time, we are examining national food systems, to see what is and isn’t working.
We are going to pool all the information, evidence and ideas we receive, and create a vision for a future food system that benefits all."
At a briefing on the Food Systems Summit held on Friday, Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, noted that a transition to more sustainable systems is already underway, with countries beginning to “take action and change behaviours in support of a new vision of how food arrives on our plate.”
UN Member States, she continued, are increasingly aware that food systems are “one of the most powerful links between humans and the planet”, and bringing about a world that "enhances inclusive economic growth and opportunity, while also safeguarding biodiversity and the global ecosystems that sustain life. "
The Summit objectives
More than 3 million people facing acute food insecurity as Burkina Faso grapples with COVID-19 and conflict
#UN; #WFP; #FoodInsecurity;#BurkimaFaso; #Covid19; #FAO
UN/WorldFoodProgram, Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): Urgent and sustained action is needed to address worsening food and nutrition insecurity in Burkina Faso, say the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), citing alarming new data. Some 3.3 million people are estimated to be facing acute food insecurity during the current lean season, that period which precedes the harvest in September.
Workers offloading flour at a WFP warehouse in Kaya, north of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Image credit: WFP/Marwa Awad
The latest analysis by the Cadre Harmonisé indicates an increase in acute food insecurity of more than 50 percent since the situation in Burkina Faso was last assessed in March.Experts say the crisis has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to earn money to cover their daily needs in a country already reeling from conflict and climate change.
Two provinces in the Sahel region – Oudalan and Soum – have been driven into the Emergency phase of food insecurity, as defined by the Cadre Harmonisé. Some 3 percent of people in these northern areas are said to be experiencing catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity and facing extreme food consumption gaps, also resulting in alarming levels of acute malnutrition. Many of those worst affected have been displaced from their homes by fighting in the region.
“We’re seeing an alarming deterioration in food security across the worst-hit parts of the country,” said David Bulman, WFP Country Director and Representative in Burkina Faso. “We need to take immediate action to reverse this trend in the two provinces. It would be nothing short of a disaster were a whole generation to be crushed by conflict, displacement and hunger.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is further exacerbating a crisis that was already deteriorating at a worrying pace, pushing more and more people into severe food crisis and acute food insecurity,” said Dauda Sau, FAO Representative in Burkina Faso. ”We can reverse this trend if we act now by supporting the Government to protect livelihoods, rapidly increase local food production and availability, and support rural populations to access food.”
Many of those most at risk are subsistence farmers and livestock herders. While urgent humanitarian life-and livelihood-saving assistance is needed to address immediate needs, so too is longer-term investment in rural livelihoods and social services which, say experts, can help reinforce social cohesion and contribute to peace.
FAO and WFP have been responding to the crisis in Burkina Faso by providing food assistance coupled with livelihood protection and support for displaced people and the host communities that receive them.