Join CIMMYT in celebrating World Food Day on 16 October!
Since 1979, World Food Day has served as a call for people around the world to come together to reduce hunger. This year the theme for World Food Day is “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth,” as FAO celebrates 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). Family farmers play a significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources and achieving sustainable development especially in rural areas.
World Food Day is especially important to CIMMYT’s mission to “sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to ensure global food security and reduce poverty.”
According to the CIMMYT 2013 annual report, maize and wheat account for about 40 percent of the world’s food and 25 percent of the calories consumed in developing countries. Billions of people in developing countries receive more than half of their daily calories from maize- and wheat-based foods. These countries need about 700 million tons of maize and wheat to meet their food needs. Because of population increases by 2020, these countries will need an additional 368 million tons of maize and wheat to sustain their communities. By improving varieties of maize and wheat and supplying these varieties to the world, CIMMYT is fighting for and working toward the World Food Day mission daily through various programs and projects.
As one example, innovative wheat varieties from CIMMYT and its research partners have helped Ethiopia more than double its wheat production in a decade, increasing from 1.60 million tons to more than 3.92 million tons from 2003/04 to 2013/14. A 2014 nationwide study published in Food Policy involving more than 2,000 farm households in Ethiopia’s major wheat-producing areas revealed that those who adopt improved wheat varieties are able to spend more on food, are more likely to be food secure and are less likely to suffer chronic or transitory food shortages.
In addition, CIMMYT’s Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) has been working with national research and extension partners, non-governmental organizations, private seed companies and farmers to develop, test and disseminate high-yielding maize varieties, support seed production and marketing, and test and promote resource-conserving farming practices in the mid-hills of Nepal. Maize is a vital crop in this region especially for poorer families and accounts for nearly 20 percent of all caloric intake. In Nepal, maize is typically grown on family farms; harsh climates, poor infrastructure and market access and worsening shortages of labor are just some of the challenges these families face. The HMRP is helping to address these constraints for a positive impact on farm productivity. Join CIMMYT and FAO on World Food Day by generating awareness of the 805 million people who are suffering from chronic hunger worldwide. How? Follow the conversation online on Facebook and Twitter, by using the hashtag #WFD2014, or visit the World Food Day website to discover how to take action by virtually “toasting” a farmer or even joining/hosting an event in your community.
For more information on World Food Day visit http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/.