The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is marking World Food Day on 16 October by highlighting the power of nutrition to transform individuals, societies and economies, and the need to make it central to all development efforts.
“Undernourished girls and boys face barriers in health, in school performance and later, in the workplace, which limit their human potential and their capacity to contribute to the societies in which they live,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.
“Prioritising nutrition today is an investment in our collective global future. The investment must involve food, agriculture, health and education systems,” she said.
Today some 842 million people - more than one in eight people in the world – suffer from chronic hunger. Yet even more – around two billion people - lack the vitamins and minerals needed to live healthy lives.
If the global community invested US$1.2 billion per year for five years on reducing micronutrient deficiencies, the benefits in better health, fewer child deaths and increased future earnings would generate gains worth US$15.3 billion.
“In Yemen, nutrition is a key part of what we do, given that the country has the second highest rate of stunting in the world, as well as very high acute malnutrition, due to poor food security and health problems,”said WFP Yemen Country Director, Bishow Parajuli, adding that WFP was providing nutrition support to nearly 700,000 women and children.
“This year, we are providing food assistance to more than 4.5 million people in Yemen. And from next year, we plan to assist the same number, but with a shift from relief assistance to activities aimed at promoting recovery and building resilience, bearing in mind that this country still has some 10.5 million people classified as food insecure – that’s 43percent of the population.”
WFP celebrates World Food Day with its sister UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).