The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) honours World Food Day (16 October) by reaffirming its dedication to work in partnership with communities, civil society, governments, and the private sector to help end hunger in our lifetimes.

Today, one in eight people globally do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life, making hunger and malnutrition the number one risk to health worldwide -- greater than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Hunger and malnutrition remain challenges globally as well as in the Philippines. The latest “State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012” publication jointly released by the Food and Agricuture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and WFP, estimates there are 16 million undernourished Filipinos.

“WFP is fully committed to working with the Government of the Philippines and all relevant stakeholders to find appropriate and sustainable solutions to address hunger,” said WFP Philippines Representative and Country Directory Stephen Anderson.  

Agriculture, one of the key sectors that WFP is engaged in supporting, is in the spotlight for this year’s World Food Day celebrations under the theme “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world.”  WFP works with agricultural cooperatives and farmers’ organizations in many countries around the world, providing training to help improve crop quality, strengthen business practices and increase access to markets. 

In the Philippines, WFP is working with the national government, local government units, communities and other partners to promote food security in conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao by improving the ability of farmers to increase yields.  WFP also helps connect farmers to markets through post-harvest capacity building and the construction of farm-to-market roads through community-based food- and cash-for-assets projects.

Other WFP-supported initiatives focus on protecting the environment and reducing the vulnerability of farmers to natural disasters, creating more favourable agricultural conditions and contributing to the Philippine Government’s rice and food self-sufficiency endeavours.   

Aside from assisting farmers and agricultural cooperatives, WFP is also helping the Government address child hunger through a school meal programme that is currently reaching 100,000 elementary students in over 300 public schools in remote, conflict-affected areas of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Notre, and North Cotabato. Under this programme, school children are provided with hot, nutritious meals, which provide vital nourishment and encourage parents to keep them in school.

Targeted specialised nutrition support is also given to pregnant and nursing women and children under five years of age, to help address key nutrition gaps at the formative stage of a child’s growth and development.          

“WFP is  working with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies to share global best practices, with particular emphasis on support to strengthening social safety nets and the monitoring of hunger,” added Anderson.

WFP celebrates World Food Day along with its sister UN food agencies, FAO and IFAD. The three Rome-based agencies often work closely together to invest in and boost the production of smallholder farmers and increase people’s access to nutritious food.

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