It was proposed that World Food Day should also be observed at national, regional and international levels to provide a global focus for the event. The first World Food Day was observed in some 140 countries in 1981 and has since become an important annual event in almost every nation in the world, involving millions of people - from the highest government leaders and officials of major international development organizations to private citizens, school children and the rural poor.
The main purpose of this annual event is to increase public awareness on the gravity of the food situation in many developing countries and effective remedial action. In spite of the optimistic resolve expressed at the World Food Conference of 1974, that the problem of hunger would he eliminated within a decade, it was clear that the number of those who chronically suffer from acute malnutrition is growing.
While the main focus of WFD activities is on grassroots initiatives at the national level, the Day has evolved into a worldwide movement which is creating a network of international awareness and cooperation. Important symbols of this international dimension are the annual WFD ceremonies held at the UN Headquarters in New York, the FAQ Headquarters in Rome and the FAQ Regional Offices.
World Food Day is based on the belief that, through informed goodwill and sustained cooperative efforts, world hunger can be eliminated in the near future and social justice achieved for all.
A long-term solution to the problem of global and national hunger requires that greater priority be given to agriculture and increased food production in developing countries and that the vital role and contribution of Third World food producers be more fully recognized. The ultimate purpose of development is to improve the lives of people.
From its inception, WFD has given this philosophy concrete expression through specific objectives to heighten public awareness on the nature and dimensions of the world food problem, including its ethical aspects, and to strengthen the sense of national and international solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty;
To encourage greater efforts, at all levels and among all groups, to increasing food production and to recognizing the successes achieved in food and agricultural development;
To promote the transfer of science and technology to developing countries and economic and technical cooperation among developing countries, particularly for the benefit of the small food producer and the landless labourer;
To promote the participation of rural people, especially women and the poorest segments of the populations, in decisions and activities which effect their lives and livelihoods.
With increased recognition of the value of WFD, more and more countries expand their WFD activities, and it has become clear that the Day’s impact is greatest when;
The ethical dimension of the WFD message is stressed;
The observance is extended beyond formal ceremonies to activities with a substantive, lasting educational or practical value;
The observance is extended beyond a ‘day’ to a ‘week’ or ‘month’, or is continued year-round; and
The activities involve the rural people - the farmers, fishermen, foresters etc - as planners and active participants.
World Food Day serves as a reminder that hundreds of millions of human beings, despite their best efforts, do not have enough to eat, suffer from inadequate shelter and clothing, earn little, lack of basic community services, education and health care.
Most of the food which feeds the people in the developing world is produced by small-scale farmers and fishermen who labour under difficult conditions and against enormous obstacles. World Food Day reminds that these people desperately need help, not in the form of charity or welfare, but in forms which will make them less vulnerable, better able to make the most of available natural and human resources, more productive and self-reliant. Since 1983, each WFD has centered around a theme designed to focus attention on some particular dimension of food production and rural life.
The theme for 1989 WFD is be “Food and Environment”. This is a subject of universal interest affecting all humanity. The concept of self-sustained development refers to a specific type of development, which is capable of meeting the basic needs of the present without affecting the capacity of future generations to satisfy their own needs.
This has various implications for agriculture and its relation with the environment, such as the conservation of plant genetic resources; pollution of water resources; the use of chemical products, pesticides and fertilizers effecting the food chain; acid rain and its effects on forests; desertification and deforestation; and so on.
Contributed by: Food and Agriculture Organization Islamabad.
To commemorate the World Food Day Pakistan Post Office is issuing one commemorative postage stamp of Re 1 denomination on October 16, 1989. This set is the second in the ‘WORLD FOOD DAY’ stamp series. The first series, consisting of a set of four (horizontal setenant) stamps of Rs 3 each design, was brought on October 24, 1983.