Quality, affordable food a challenge, report says

Eradicating hunger by 2030 remains a big challenge for nations around the world.

The annual report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O.), which was titled The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, estimates 820 million people did not have enough to eat in 2018.

This is up from 811 million in 2017 and marks the third year of consecutive increase, stated the report.

Apia-based F.A.O. Sub Regional Coordinator, Eriko Hibi, said the challenge highlighted by the report is how do we ensure nutritious and high quality food is available and affordable for Samoan people.

“If people have to pay so much money in order to get something healthy, that’s not possible. That’s not sustainable,” she added. 

Ms Hibi said people had limited incomes and have to manage a household budget based on this.

“You have to always bear in mind that the food security is not just about telling people to eat healthy. It has to be affordable and available healthy foods.”

The combination of moderate and severe levels of food insecurity brings the estimated total to 26.4 percent of the world population, which amounts to about 2 billion people globally, stated the F.A.O. report.

According to the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.), multiple forms of malnutrition and maternal child undernutrition contributes to 45 per cent of deaths in children under five of age. 

The various forms of malnutrition are intertwined throughout the life cycle with maternal undernutrition, low birthweight and child stunting giving rise to increased risk of overweight later in life.

Overweight and obesity are also on the rise in almost all countries, particularly among school-age children and adults, contributing to 4 million deaths globally.

Ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 will require greater efforts and integrated approaches to eradicate extreme poverty, ensure decent work and inclusive economic growth, and reduce inequalities, stated the F.A.O. report.

Ms Hibi says that in the last ten years the Samoa Government has repeatedly come out with some very clear statements on the issue.

“There is no doubt that the consciousness is there and the policies have been put in place. How to get it done is still the reality where the struggle continues," she added.

Ms Hibi said until a solution was found on how to make healthy and safe quality food affordable and available to Samoans, the food security issue in Samoa will not be solved.

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