The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have called for greater investment in the transformation of food systems to ensure food and nutrition security and to cope with shocks and crises.
The calls were made as they marked the World Food Day on Oct 17.
Soaring food prices and transport costs, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts across the globe including the war in Ukraine, and the rise of climate-related disasters such as floods and drought are driving an increase in food and nutrition insecurity. The hardest hit are those most vulnerable and dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, according to a joint press release.
Globally, farmers tried to offset this year’s higher input costs by planting less and scaling back their fertilizer use, which can hurt yields. They struggled with higher feed costs to sustain livestock production. Developing countries are most at risk of seeing their production shrink as farmers have fewer financial resources to compensate for rising input prices, which are growing at a faster rate than the prices for their produce.
“Because our agri-food systems are interlinked to so many different areas of our lives and economy – from agriculture to natural resources to energy to health – they hold great potential as vehicles for a more equitable and prosperous future. Sustainable food systems will benefit everyone, including the most vulnerable. Most vulnerable and small-scale producers need to be empowered, because they can be at the centre of food systems transformation and become active and equal agents of sustainable development,” explained Antonio Schiavone, Officer in Charge of FAO Representation in Cambodia.
“The world is now in the midst of a global food crisis fuelled by the economic downturn of the pandemic, climate shocks and the impact of the war in Ukraine. To date, Cambodia remains shielded more than others from the global food crisis. This does not mean that we should not continue to strengthen our efforts to reduce food insecurity and make sure that people are able to feed themselves with healthy diets,” said Annelaure Duval, Officer in Charge and Deputy Country Director of WFP in Cambodia.
“As a nation, we need to transform food supply chains to ensure the system can deliver quality and nutritious food for all Cambodian through investment in innovation, technology and digital system,” emphasised H.E. Om Kimsir, Secretary of State of the MAFF.
“FAO stands ready to support the Royal Government of Cambodia in implementation of national pathways for transformation of Cambodia’s food system, and will work closely with different stakeholders, including private sector, academia, development partners to help empower smallholder farmers by transforming the ways in which our food is produced, delivered and consumed. Boosting local safe and nutritious food production and ensuring smallholders’ access to agricultural inputs, technical assistance, innovation and technologies, working capital, and markets are crucial for this transformation,” added Mr. Schiavone.
“WFP stands behind the Royal Government of Cambodia with its proactive response to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – supporting those left behind. Investing in resilient national food systems and supply chains is crucial today to ensure a sustainable and resilient tomorrow,” said Ms. Annelaure.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press