Malawi join the rest of the world in commemoration of World food and Africa day for food and nutrition security at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.
World food day is globally commemorated on October 16 and 30 every year in order to attract new commitments to achieve the ultimate goal of ending hunger.
This years’ commemoration was under the theme “Grow, nourish, sustain, together. Our actions are our future; and Resilient food systems toward healthy diets for the vulnerable during emergencies.”
Speaking on Friday the event, Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe said this year’s event will promote worldwide awareness soil action for those who suffer from all forms of malnutrition and for the need to ensure food security and healthy diets for all.
“This resonates well with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, which emphasizes not only the need to end hunger but, also, the need to achieve food security by improving access to nutritious food while using sustainable agricultural production methods,” he said.
He also said this year, the World food day is being commemorated in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which globally hit many countries including Malawi.
“COVID-19 is not the only threat to our lives, we have also experienced catastrophic disasters like livestock disease outbreaks, droughts, floods, among others disasters which have affected livelihoods of people at household level and loss of life in other cases,” he stated.
He pointed out that these disasters disrupt progress of many economic activities in public as well as private sectors, which result in reduced productivity and income.
The minister stated that marketing of commodities has been affected due to movement restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 and foot and mouth diseases for cattle leading to reduced income for many households.
Country Director for World Food Programme (WFP), Marco Cavalcante said in Malawi too many people cannot sustainably feed their families or safeguard their communities’ resources for the future.
“Lack of skills to handle and store harvested crops is one of the biggest challenges Malawian smallholder farmers face.
“Approximately one third of their hard-earned yields is lost to rodents, weevils, and rotting barely a few months after harvesting,” he said.
FAO Representative, Zhijun Chen said that food losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain, because of poor harvesting techniques, transportation and lack of storage facilities.
He said simple and affordable steps of new food systems can reduce food losses and increase the availability of food on local and regional markets.
“For instance, having the ability to store it in airtight bags and sell later when the market price is significantly higher means farmers can increase their incomes and improve their families’ food security,” he disclosed.