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Towards Zero Hunger: Myanmar Celebrating World Food Day

YANGON: Today is World Food Day, when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) mark their partnership with the Government of Myanmar and reaffirm their commitment to reducing hunger nationwide.

Thanks to Government efforts supported by FAO and WFP, significant progress has been achieved in fighting undernutrition in Myanmar in recent years. In 1990, 62 percent of the population was undernourished, compared to just 14 percent today, which means that Myanmar achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015.

This year, Myanmar is one of many countries that agreed at the UN in New York to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – a comprehensive list of 17 ambitious targets to end poverty and inequality by the year 2030. These include Global Goal 2 – Zero Hunger: “To end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” In 2015, Myanmar launched a new National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Security (2016-2026), which will serve as a platform for the coordination of efforts to achieve zero hunger and strengthen food and nutrition security governance in the country.

But despite these achievements, there is still much work to be done. More than 26 percent of the population, or 13 million people, live below the poverty line in Myanmar, and close to three million people are considered food poor, spending a high percentage of their limited income on food. One in three children are chronically malnourished, which has consequences for their physical and mental development for a lifetime.

In 2015, FAO and WFP’s support to the government went beyond technical expertise. Both agencies responded to emergency needs after the devastating floods that affected more than 1.7 million people in Myanmar, resulting in massive loss of livelihoods. Floods destroyed more than one million acres of farmland and it is anticipated that the paddy rice crop will be reduced this year. . As well as the loss of livestock, the floods have undermined agricultural production, affecting the market and further exacerbating food insecurity.

Following a government request for assistance, WFP was the first humanitarian agency on the ground to respond to the floods and reached more than 455,000 vulnerable and food-insecure people in need of immediate food assistance FAO is also responding to meet the immediate needs of farmers and help them rebuild resilient livelihoods. While WFP will continue to provide food assistance for flood affected communities through relief activities, FAO will facilitate access to seeds, tools and agricultural inputs and help with the restocking of domestic animals and fish or shrimp.

On this day of action against hunger, FAO and WFP wish to reaffirm their commitment to supporting the Government of Myanmar to achieve zero hunger. Together with the Government, we will continue to work towards a world in which no child is stunted, and each person has access to adequate, nutritious food.

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Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Our three main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

For more information please contact:
Andrea Bozzetto, FAO/Yangon, andrea.bozzetto@fao.org, Mob. +95 926 0420 134
Arsen Sahakyan, WFP/Yangon, arsen.sahakyan@wfp.org, Mob. +95 945 0061 242

 

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Myanmar