Food and Agriculture Organization Current Affairs
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World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations. Observance of this day aims to communicate messages on importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being. It also advocates for sustainable management of soil resources. The Theme for year 2018 is ‘Be the Solution to Soil Pollution’. It aims to raise awareness and call people to stop soil pollution.
Importance of soil
Soil is the upper layer of earth. It is mixture of organic and inorganic matter, in which plants grow. It is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable. According to FAO, soil holds three times as much carbon as atmosphere and can help to meet challenges of a changing climate. 95% of our food comes from soil and 33% of global soils are already degraded.
International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) had adopted resolution proposing 5th of December as World Soil Day in 2002 to celebrate importance of soil as critical component of natural system and as vital contributor to human wellbeing. Later in June 2013 FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, 68th UNGA declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day.
According to recently released report “Preventing nutrient loss and waste across the food system: Policy actions for high-quality diets”, one-in-five deaths is associated with poor-quality diets. It shows that regularly eating poor-quality food has become greater public health threat than malaria, tuberculosis or measles. The report was published by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
As per FAO Report
More than half of all globally-produced fruits and vegetables are lost or wasted annually. Around 25% of all meat produced, equivalent to 75 million cows, goes uneaten. About one-third of food produced for human consumption never reaches consumer’s plate. Global food loss or waste annually is estimated to be around $1 trillion.
Nutrient-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats are highly perishable, so susceptible to losses throughout increasingly complex food production systems. Globally, agriculture produces 22% more vitamin A required for human consumption, but after loss and waste, amount available is merely 11% per cent less than required.
In Low-income nations, food is mostly lost during harvesting, storage, processing and transportation while in high-income nations problem lies in retail and consumer level waste. Together, they directly impact number of calories and nutrients actually available for consumption. Reducing food loss and waste, mainly high-nutrient foods, has nutritional benefits and also contributes to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
FAO recommended solutions
Policymakers need to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve access to nutritious and healthy food. Food systems that increase availability, affordability and consumption of fresh, nutrient-rich food for everyone must be put in place to tackle all forms of malnutrition and to promote healthy diets.
Series of policy actions should be taken across entire food system, including educating all concerned, focusing on perishable foods, improving public and private infrastructure and closing data gaps on food losses and waste.
Reducing loss and waste of nutritious foods could yield substantial health benefits, given direct impact on wellbeing, learning capacity and productivity. Cutting down on food waste will yield major economic benefits. Besides, eating more of food already produced, will avoid wasting water, land and energy that went into its production.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
It is specialised agency of UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC). It was established on 16 October 1945 and its headquarters are in Rome, It has 197 member states, along with European Union (member organization).