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One in Five: The Stark Reality of Starvation on World Food Day

As the world unites to mark World Food Day on 16 October, one in five South African households begs for food – revealing the massive food insecurity facing our country, and our world.

World Food Day commemorates the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945 and serves as a global platform to promote food security while addressing the pressing issue of world hunger.

According to the FAO, one in nine people suffers from starvation, despite the world producing enough food to feed its population. Tragically, around 45% of deaths among children under the age of five are attributed to malnutrition.

At the same time, one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted. These startling statistics expose the need for a more sustainable approach to food consumption and distribution – one that is capable of overcoming issues that impact food security worldwide, such as inflation, climate change, and geopolitical instability.

In the meantime, there are things people can do to lead more sustainable lives. By adopting these simple practices, we can all contribute to a world with less hunger and waste:

1. When shopping for produce, don’t be put off “ugly” or irregularly shaped fruits and vegetables. They are equally delicious and nutritious, even if they appear slightly different.

2. Ensure the freshness of your produce by optimising the temperature of your fridge. Try to make sure your fridge is set between 1-5°C for maximum shelf life.

3. Operate on a “first in, first out” basis when it comes to packing away your groceries. Place your new products at the back and move the older ones to the front.

4. Support on-the-ground organisations that work to fight hunger and nourish the nation. Networks like FoodForward SA connect a world of excess to a world of need by collecting and distributing quality, surplus food.

5. Organise a weekly fresh food drive with your neighbours, friends, and family, where you collect healthy, perishable items – that would otherwise go to waste – and donate them to your local foodbank.

“World Food Day serves as a powerful reminder of the work that remains to be done in eradicating hunger and food insecurity,” says Andy Du Plessis, Managing Director of FFSA. “We are dedicated to ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry, and we call on everyone to join us in our mission. By reducing food waste and supporting initiatives like ours, we can make a meaningful impact in the fight against hunger.”

Donate to FoodForward SA and help us fight food insecurity in South Africa.

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