World Food Day 2013 – Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) celebrates the annual World Food Day on 16th October. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”.


The aim is to promote understanding of the main causes of hunger and malnutrition in the world and inform about the strategies required to achieve a hunger-free and sustainable world. The International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) supports these aims.

Food systems include the production, processing, transport, distribution and consumption of food, from farm to plate. All these processes are challenged by changing climate conditions, reduced crop yields, dependence on non-renewable sources of energy such as oil and minerals, and increasingly concentrated ownership of the international food trade as well as poor food and nutrition competences among many consumers.

Waste of food is a big problem both in developing and developed economies. For example, many rural smallholders around the world do not have access to food storage, processing and packaging facilities, and face problems bringing their products to market. In developed economies overproduction and domestic wastage are major problems. The development of sustainable food systems would help to reduce these sources of waste. They are characterised by low environmental impacts and protection of biodiversity. They contribute to food and nutritional security and support healthy lives among present and the future populations (FAO/WHO 2013, FAO 2012).

Home Economists in many cultures and traditions around the world strive to implement sustainable food production and transformation by helping women and men manage their daily lives.

As part of the global UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce hunger and poverty, traditional farming patterns and access to land for women need to be reconsidered, especially in developing countries. Women who receive basic education and training in sustainable farming and food production technologies are more able to improve the nutritional status and health of their families.

The International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) as a global network of Home Economists and Nutritionists works to improve food security as a means of reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty in the regions of the world

To create and strengthen Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition according to FAO recommendations (FAO 2013) the IFHE is committed to:

  • Sustainable intensification of production as well as of nutrition- promoting farming systems;
  • Nutrient-preserving processing, packaging, transport and storage;
  • Reduced waste and increased technical and economic efficiency;
  • Food safety;
  • Sustainable lifestyle in families by strengthen efficient resourcemanagement strategies and consumption patterns in households;
  • Nutrition education and information focussed on sensitising

    individuals, households and families acting sustainably reflecting the ecological, social and economic dimensions.

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