FAO: Reduce food imports
FAO Deputy Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Lystra Fletcher-Paul.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is concerned with the number of people in the world that are under or over-nourished as they reiterate that the world is indeed facing a global crisis.
It was one of the areas in focus on Thursday as FAO Deputy Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Lystra Fletcher-Paul, addressed participants who are in Barbados for the 11th Regional Planner’s Forum being held under the theme, “Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development”.
She said about 795 million people worldwide are undernourished, 1.9 billion are overweight, while roughly one-third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted.
In the Caribbean there are approximately 7.5 million undernourished persons, she said, “And for many Caribbean countries, the major problem is not undernutrition but over-nutrition.”
The FAO, she further stated, is very concerned that the average prevalence of overweight adults in the region increased from 47.9 to 54.9 between 2005 and 2014 and from 15.5 to 21.0.
They have concluded that the high incidence of overweight and obesity is linked to poor nutrition habits which contribute to the increased incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases which is the leading cause of death in the region.
Participants at the FAO 11th Regional Planner’s Forum on Thursday.
To address this problem Fletcher-Paul is calling on the region to slow down food imports as she attributed this to the consumption of foods which are high in processed carbohydrates, fats, sugar and salt.
“To address this problem, we must increase our production and consumption of healthy, nutritious local foods. This requires major transformations of our agricultural systems, rural economies and natural resource management. If we are to achieve food and nutrition security and by extension, Sustainable Development Goal 2 – a world free of hunger by 2050, we must produce more local food,” she emphasised.
For small island developing states, she noted that production must be done on more or less of the same land area, and using less water due to the impacts of climate change.
The symposium, which culminates today, is focusing on Financial Instruments, Investments and Institutional Strengthening, Climate Smart Agriculture ad Value Chins and Access to Inclusive Markets.
It is being hosted by the FAO in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.