World Food Day 2016

Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.

For farmers worldwide, the probability of having a “normal” year is moving noticeably closer to zero.

This is, in part, because climate-related factors are known to drive 32-39% of global crop yield variability. Modern agriculture practices must adapt to our changing climate context now – to ensure a food secure future for a #ZeroHunger generation and up to 9.7 billion people by 2050.

On October 16, 1945, 42 countries assembled in Quebec, Canada, to create the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Their goal was to free humanity from hunger and malnutrition and to effectively manage the global food system.

On the resultant World Food Day, October 16, CNFA celebrates the anniversary of FAO’s founding. This 71st year, we echo their call that climate is changing, and that food and agriculture must too.

On our blog this week we are discussing good environmental stewardship in agriculture and how it will play a fundamental role in meeting the global increase in demand for food. Innovative and sustainable solutions will be necessary to meet major challenges.

Check this page throughout the week for daily updates and follow us on Twitter @CNFA and Facebook @CNFAglobal to join the conversation #WFD2016.

Jump to October 17 – Day 2

Jump to October 18 – Day 3

Jump to October 19 – Day 4

Day 2 #WFD2016

Making food systems sustainable for a Zero Hunger Generation

In 2012, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched The Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC), which called on government leaders worldwide to launch a collective effort to end hunger and create sustainable food systems for a #ZeroHunger generation.

The five elements of the ZHC are:

  • All food systems are sustainable: from production to consumption
  • An end to rural poverty: double small-scale producer incomes & productivity
  • Adapt all food systems to eliminate loss or waste of food
  • Access to adequate food and healthy diets, for all people, all year round
  • An end to malnutrition in all its forms

Promotion of environmentally sustainable agricultural production practices will be instrumental in achieving these goals, but as the climate continues to change globally, it is transforming the context for rural development.

Some estimates show that on average our climate is already 1°C hotter than in pre-industrial times. This increase may seem small, but it is representative of one the most fundamental challenges facing the improved agricultural production, global food security, and nutrition called for in the ZHC.

The gravity of even minor changes in climate is real; if global temperatures are only 2°C higher by 2050 – the same year world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion people – crop yields would be 20% lower*.  Increasingly unpredictable physical landscapes make smallholder farming riskier and farming-based livelihoods less resilient.

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To feed a population of 9.7 billion by 2050, agriculture as we know it will need to adapt. In our work, we encourage a shift from inefficient production methods to techniques and technologies that help to increase output as well as reduce environmental impact. Equally important, however, is a focus not just on practices but on the people who implement them.

CNFA and our partners have established over 7,000 agrodealers to serve rural populations across Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. These one-stop-shop enterprises provide convenient access to improved agricultural inputs and technologies and are providing technical guidance and extension services to farmers and their communities.

This channel to the farm-level also enables us to effectively emphasize safe use in agrochemical handling, best practices in conservation agriculture, and support in the certification of quality standards for inputs. Our local teams and technicians audit products and their environmental impacts and conduct behavioral change outreach towards the ends of promoting the shared, global responsibility to maintain resources for future generations.

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*Statistics: The Economist

Day 3 #WFD2016

Adapting food systems to eliminate loss or waste of food

The global effort to feed a Zero Hunger generation is not just based in increasing sustainable agricultural production, but reducing food waste from farm to fork.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption is wasted every year (approximately 1.3 billion tons)*. The FAO estimates that consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons)*. Key sources of nutrition including fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food*. While consumers need to do their part, in order to feed a growing, hungry planet we must also maximize agricultural efficiency, and in turn, minimize food losses from farm to fork.

In our work, we match efforts to conserve vital agricultural resources (e.g. soil and water) with activities to curb food waste. Reducing post-harvest loss and engaging in value-added activities are critical elements in our strategy for improving smallholders’ food security and helping processors expand to new markets. Working across the entire value chain, we integrate modern processing and post-harvest handling practices in our programs to expand profitability, competitiveness, and export capacities of food processing enterprises worldwide towards feeding more people.

Technical assistance in a variety of areas including but not limited to: distribution, cleaning, packing, sorting, storage, transportation, worker hygiene, cold storage, and processing (drying, canning, freezing, preserving fermenting, juicing) helps to maximize the value of and use of agricultural produce. To complement our platform of technical assistance, we assist processing companies in obtaining international certifications such as HACCP, GlobalGap and ISO, which can help increase demand in both existing and new markets, ensuring existing, and in many cases increased, production does not go to waste.

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In developing countries, 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels while in industrialized countries more than 40% of losses happen at retail and consumer levels.


In Georgia, for example, grantee enterprises under the CNFA/USAID Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) project are applying environmentally friendly agriculture practices that reduce waste. This includes mitigation/adaptation measures such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, bio-fertilizers, and at the Farm Service Center/agrodealer-level, conservation agriculture demo plots. Our team supports continuous and regular consulting for local farmers to raise their awareness on application of best practices in proper tillage, crop rotation, organic farming and other methods associated with conservation agriculture. We apply energy efficient green technologies to project-supported cold storage and processing companies, and are introducing green engineering principles that go beyond agricultural production such as environmentally safe construction materials, ventilation systems, and refrigeration. The REAP dairy projects introduced improved energy efficiency technologies at various stages: manure storage facilities, waste management systems, and energy efficient technologies.  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems were also introduced, waste management practices have been applied, irrigation systems introduced, in addition to needs-based application of fertilizers. REAP also supports processing companies towards creating sustainable food chains in dairy, vegetables, meat, and herbs.

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*Source: FAO

Food losses during harvest and in storage translate into lost income for small farmers and into higher prices for poor consumers.


Day 4 #WFD2016

Increasing access to healthy diets, for all people, and ending malnutrition

While climate change is the core focus of this year’s World Food Day, the final “pillar” of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge is rooted in improving nutrition. We believe that sustainable agriculture and improved nutrition are inextricably linked solutions; as such, progress towards adapting agriculture to a changing climate need not be mutually exclusive from the efforts to improve the health and diets of the world’s growing population.

Our projects aim to increase production in order to improve the health of rural families not only by providing a higher-quality diet, but also by generating profits from surplus to improve the purchasing power of smallholders to nutrition-rich agricultural and livestock value chain commodities.

Integrating improved nutrition is a core objective of our Amalima project in Zimbabwe, where our team facilitates care group meetings to impart trainings for our nutrition improvement strategies to active community members, including “lead mothers” and pregnant and lactating women, who are encouraged to share what they’ve learned as well as host care group meetings of their own. Nearly 25,000 Zimbabweans have attended these care group meetings, which also involve eco-stove trainings, “healthy harvest” trainings, and infant and young child feeding training.


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The healthy harvest training approach was developed by the FAO and focuses on growing, preparing, and processing healthy foods at the community level. Healthy harvest looks at all aspects of food production and consumption, which encourages communities to use locally available foods as part of a well-rounded, diverse diet. As a compliment to the healthy harvest strategy, Amalima organizes cooking classes taught by lead mothers that specifically promote consumption of nutritious, locally available foods. Cooking class sessions are designed to encourage the active participation of attendees and demonstrate how healthy meals can be prepared easily, often by modifying an already popular meal like porridge, and in a short amount of time.

In conjunction with Amalima’s holistic approach to promoting improved nutritional intake, rations of vitamin-fortified vegetable oil and Corn Soy Blend Plus are provided to mothers and caretakers as a more immediate intervention to combat undernourishment, especially in lactating mothers and children younger than two years old. This strategy has proven particularly important during ongoing drought conditions, in which agricultural production is severely hampered.

You can read more about Amalima’s specific efforts to improve nutrition and health for future generations here.

Thanks for joining us this week for our #WFD2016 blog series! Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @CNFA and Facebook @CNFAGlobal to stay updated on our work around the world.