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Monday, 6 October 2014

World prepares to mark World Food Day

By Bob Aston
As the world prepares to mark the World Food Day on October 16, 2014, the focus of world attention is increasingly shifting to the role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty. The 2014 World Food Day theme-Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth” has been chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers.
The World Food Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to honor the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945. It aims to heighten public awareness of world food security and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
The UN General Assembly has also designated 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming (IYFF).” This is a strong signal that the international community recognizes the important contribution of family farmers to world food security.
A smallholder farmer admiring her tomatoes and cabbages
As the world will be marking the World Food Day, most farmers in Kenya will be counting losses and low yields this year. The below average rainfall which has been experienced in most parts of Kenya is set to affect food production in the Country.
Already the price of maize, the key staple food in the country has risen significantly this year, putting vulnerable households at increased food security risk. This has also been compounded by the spread of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND).
The number of people requiring food assistance in the country has already risen to 15 percent. A long rains food security assessment recently released by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) estimates that 1.5 million people are acutely food insecure and will require immediate food assistance over the next six months (September 2014 – February 2015).
To address food insecurity in the country the government needs to recognize the important role played by family farmers. Family farmers work to protect the soil, air, water, and biodiversity in addition to producing high-quality, healthy food for everyone.
This year the world attention has been shifted in increasing awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders as well as raising their profile by focusing attention on its role in alleviating hunger, poverty, providing food security and improving livelihoods, while protecting the environment and biodiversity.
Family and smallholder farming are inextricably linked to world food security. It is thus important to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholder farmers as well as helping in identifying efficient ways to support family farmers.

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