Strengthening food system stressed


United Nations World Food Programme today joined its sister agencies seeking global action to improve food system so that people can better withstand shocks and crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Nepal, the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, particularly, loss of livelihoods and incomes, are reducing communities’ ability to withstand potential shocks such as natural disasters. Incidents of floods and landslides have further exacerbated food insecurity in parts of the country, according to WFP reports.

The need for concerted action to improve agricultural production while enhancing the global supply chain is captured in this year’s World Food Day theme, ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together’. The three Rome-based agencies WFP, Food and Agriculture Organisation of UN and International Fund for Agricultural Development are now renewing their call for sustainable investment in the food system to achieve healthy diets for all. Without massive improvement in the food supply chain, developing countries such as Nepal are set to become increasingly vulnerable to financial volatility and climate shocks.

In recent months, with the COVID pandemic, food insecurity has deteriorated in Nepal, and it can be further exacerbated by lack of economic, physical and social access to nutritious and affordable food. In these tumultuous times, smallholder farmers in Nepal need support to sustainably grow, store, and transport their products to markets to improve their livelihoods. When food makes its way from the farm to people’s plates in a way that is effective and fair, everyone benefits, read a press release issued by WFP Nepal.“Efficient and effective food supply chains are essential to lowering the risk of food insecurity, malnutrition, food price fluctuation and can simultaneously create jobs,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Pippa Bradford. “By empowering producers and retailers in food system economy, we help build food supply chains that are resilient to shocks, environmentally sustainable and that can ensure nutrition for all,” she added.

As the largest humanitarian organisation in the world fighting hunger, WFP has unparalleled experience in buying and distributing food. In Nepal, WFP is strengthening government capacity to procure food locally from smallholder farmers, and supporting small-holders agricultural market linkage by providing smallholders training in creation of productive assets. It has been helping farmers for post-harvest management and localised and stable agricultural market storage and their access to market, in addition to interventions for climate change adaptation to food security.

A version of this article appears in print on October 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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