Developing Nations Face Challenges Achieving Food Security

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19 2016 - Some 795 million people worldwide do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life—and the vast majority of the world’s hungry live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished, according to UN estimates.

Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” and joined by China– and against the backdrop of a food crisis largely in the developing world– the Thai delegate singled out the numerous challenges facing developing nations in their quest to ensure food security and nutrition.

These included prolonged weakness in global recovery, volatile food prices and the sharp decline of commodity exports.

These challenges were intensified by the changing global environment and were characterized by population movements, rapid urbanization, climate change and limited natural resources.  They adversely affected developing countries, especially agro-based economies and net food importers, posing serious threats to attaining food security.

The international community should, therefore, step up efforts to fulfil the right to food by mainstreaming food security and nutrition and promoting agriculture policies, investment plans and healthy diets, the Thai delegate said.

Agriculture remained a key sector for developing countries, which contributed immensely to economic growth and well-being, she said.  It was vital that the international community worked towards eliminating all forms of protectionism and enhanced commitments to improve market access, reduce trade-distorting national support and eliminate export subsidies and disciplines.

Technology and innovation were also urgently needed, especially for developing countries, to sustainably increase agricultural production to meet with rising demands, improve the global supply chain and decrease food loss and waste.

She stressed the need to promote the transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technology to developing countries.  She also noted that the adverse impacts of climate change had undermined the ability of all countries to achieve food security and sustainable development.

Further, unsustainable agriculture and food systems, particularly food loss and waste, were major contributors to climate change, accounting for about 8 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

A systematic transformation of agricultural and food policies was urgently needed to ensure they were sustainable and compatible with the challenges imposed by climate change.

Meanwhile, a report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on agriculture development, food security and nutrition said meeting the dietary needs of future populations would require “the sustainable doubling of agriculture productivity”.

Smallholder farmers were integral to the global system and that farmers operating two hectares of land or less managed only 12 per cent of total agricultural land but produced more than 80 per cent of the world’s food in terms of value.

The report also highlighted efforts to implement Sustainable Development Goal 2 on ensuring sustainable food systems.  Shifting to more sustainable agriculture and food systems would be increasingly necessary to strengthen resilience to the effects of climate change while ensuring food security.

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