As we mark the World Food Day 2019, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2, that envisions zero hunger, under theme “Our actions are our future. Healthy diets for zero hunger’ we must remember that the future begins today, it is the little routine actions that amount to the great impact that we desire.
Globally the triple burden of malnutrition (undernutrition, micro-nutrient deficiency and Overweight/obesity) continues to bite, coupled with the rise of communicable diseases with nutritional implications that continue to be exacerbated by poor dietary habits. Further global reports indicate that hunger is on the rise and the absolute number of undernourished people continues to increase.
Failing food systems that speak to the structures and mechanism of food production and access continue to suffice, Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) 2019, forwards five related problems that continue to exert the failing systems including: Insufficient supply of food from agricultural production to feed the growing world population; Inefficient delivery of foods from farmers to consumers due to market logistical challenges that often lead to large losses and wastages during transport, handling and storage; Unequitable access to sufficiently healthy and diversified diets, due to highly segmented food markets: Unaffordable opportunities especially for the poor and Unsustainable food supply due to negative environmental impacts.
As these overarching systematic and process failures continue to pose challenges, solutions need to be sought: for example Information must be unpacked, from this big, large and sometimes abstract idea of ‘ending hunger’, to actual, simple and doable actions from the household, national and global levels to realise zero hunger. Hunger and nutrition related knowledge levels across the different stakeholders must be built to help wield a force toward the realization of this global vision.
Going forward we must see the smaller and the global pictures and establish deliberate and concerted efforts to improve the health outcomes at each level: For example, well-nourished mothers have healthier babies with stronger immune systems, and thus at the household maternal child nutrition must be prioritised, exclusive breastfeeding and optimal complimentary feeding must be emphasised.
The link between investment in nutrition and development need to be communicated clearly: Proper nutrition early in life could mean a 46% more in lifetime earnings, could save 3.1 million children per year, could increase a developing country’s GDP by 16.5 percent, ending nutrition related child mortality could increase a workforce by 9.4 percent and every dollar invested in hunger prevention has a return between USD15 and USD 139 in benefit. In Kenya 53% of child deaths can be averted through investment in nutrition and 3.2 Trillion shillings saved in the next 20 years. Specific actions at household level to global level to actualise this, must be relayed clearly.
Ending hunger must move from mere rhetoric to action, information must be broken down for every stakeholder to understand what they can do towards the cause. It must be owned from the household level, translate to policy and must wield political good will and resources to actualise it. Stakeholder’s coordination to end hunger must be strengthened, with the understanding that ending hunger is everybody’s responsibility.
By Wachira Charity
 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2019: The State of Food Security and Nutrition
in the World 2019
 Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, 2019-https://a4nh.cgiar.org/2019/02/01/repairing-food-systems-failures-policies-innovations-and-partnerships/
 Food and Agricultural Association: https://www.greeningtheblue.org/event/world-food-day
 Nutrition Profiles 2010
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