Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Hon. Dean Jonas, delivered the FAO’s Director General’s Message on the occasion of World Food Day, October 16th, 2018 (today).
In this message, it was noted that nearly 820 million people were undernourished in 2017, according to the latest State of Food Security in the World Report.
According to the message, conflict, extreme weather events linked to climate change and economic slowdown, are reversing progress made in the fight against hunger.
According to the statement, the time is right to redouble efforts to achieve the global goal of zero hunger.
World Food Day calls on the International community to work more closely together and make use of the evidence and tools available.
Three years ago, all UN Member Countries pledged to end poverty and hunger when they committed to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Minister Jonas meanwhile used the opportunity to urge citizens to pay more attention to eating healthy choices of food as this can help to avoid the incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) that is so prevalent today.
He said although hunger is not an issue here Antigua, more emphasis must be paid to consuming more nutritious food to avoid numerous diet-related diseases.
Minister Jonas said that the government is currently providing lunch to thousands of school children free of cost and through the School Meals Programme and will be looking to examine the possibility of offering additional meals for children, to include Breakfast.
The Agriculture Minister said that at the last COTED Meeting, the ministers of agriculture were insisting that the governments across the OECS and CARICOM should look into providing breakfast for school children.
“This is a matter that I will be debating with my colleagues in cabinet to see if the government will be willing to undertake that as well,” Minister Jonas assured.
Minister Jonas in the meantime called for a re-education campaign to be mounted to share information with the general public about proper eating habits.
“What we need to do now is to increase our education on proper eating habits. There are still too many persons that are relying on fast foods…junk foods to nourish themselves and their families and we need to re-education our population that this is improper and we need to pay more attention to nutritious, balanced meals to eliminate the problem of NCDs in Antigua and Barbuda.”
World Food Day is being held under the theme, “Our present actions will determine our future- A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is still possible.”