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Celebrate World Food Day with CIMMYT and FAO

October 16, 2014

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El Batan, Mexico, 15 October 2014World Food Day is held annually on 16 October. World Food Day celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on 16 October 1945 in Quebec, Canada.

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.

The objectives of World Food Day and IYFF directly correlate with CIMMYT’s mission to “sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to ensure global food security and reduce poverty.” Each year, CIMMYT recognizes World Food Day as a day to bring awareness to global food insecurity.

According to the FAO, 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, these countries will need an additional 368 million tons of maize and wheat by 2020 to sustain their communities. By improving varieties of maize and wheat and supplying these varieties to the world, CIMMYT is working to fulfill the World Food Day mission daily through its research 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 bringing awareness to 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/.

Headquartered in Mexico, CIMMYT is the global leader in research for development in wheat and maize and wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to improve global food security and livelihoods.

Improved, CIMMYT-derived wheat is sown on more than 60 million hectares in developing countries – over 70 percent of the spring wheat area planted with modern wheat varieties in those nations. These wheat varieties are responsible for bigger harvests that bring annual added benefits to farmers of at least US $500 million.

Similarly, 50 percent of modern maize varieties grown in developing countries come from CIMMYT improved seeds. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium and leads the Consortium Research Programs WHEAT and MAIZE. CIMMYT receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

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Media Contacts:

Scott Mall Director of International Communications & Development
+1 404-988-5900

Katie Lutz
Communication Consultant