HARARE/MUTOKO – Family farming is vital in ensuring food security, says the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development on the occasion of World Food Day. Joining the ministry in celebrating the occasion which falls annually on 16 October are two United Nations agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
This year’s commemoration is being held at Chitora Irrigation Scheme, in Mutoko district under the theme ‘Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth’. The focus is on the importance of family farming and the contribution of smallholder farmers’ towards achieving “zero hunger” in their communities.
“Family farming plays a significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty,” said Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made. “It helps to provide food and nutrition security, improve livelihoods, manage natural resources, protect the environment and achieve sustainable development, particularly in Zimbabwe’s rural areas.”
In addition to enhancing global food security, family farming is also critical for improved nutrition – vital for a country like Zimbabwe where, in some districts, the levels of stunting among children are above the national average, according to FAO.
“Family farming enables households across the country to grow a variety of nutritious crops such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and animal source foods for consumption,” said FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri. “This ensures that the families are food secure as well as having diets that improve their wellbeing. This in turn will help reduce stunting and malnutrition.”
The UN General Assembly has designated 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming” - a strong signal that the international community recognizes the important contribution of family farmers to world food security.
“With increasing climate variability, it is vital that vulnerable communities bounce back after drought, floods and other shocks,” said WFP Country Director Sory Ouane. “WFP helps them build assets such as community gardens and small irrigation systems that strengthen their resilience over time.”
World Food Day marks the anniversary of the founding of FAO in 1945. The main objective of the day is to heighten public awareness about the nature and dimensions of long-term global food challenges, and to develop further national and international solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
For further details, please contact:
Tomson Phiri, Communication Officer, WFP
Tel: +263 772 198 619, Email: email@example.com
Leonard Makombe, Assistant Communication Officer, FAO
Tel: +263 779 711 777, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org