Friday 16 October 2015 is World Food Day – a day of action against hunger observed by more than 150 countries each year.
It is held to acknowledge the chronic hunger experienced by many, and act as a lightning rod for people to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.
Globally, one in nine people – or 795 million people – are undernourished, with most living in developing countries.
Asia has the most hungry people, with two-thirds of the total, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, projections for 2014-2016 indicate a rate of undernourishment
of almost 23%.
Hunger is a growing problem in Australia too, with a rising number of low-income families struggling to afford minimum daily requirements.
Low-income families are the biggest group seeking food relief, according to Foodbank.
Foodbank is a non-denominational, non-profit organisation which connects the food industry’s surplus food with the welfare sector’s need.
Foodbank released a Hunger Report that revealed 516,000 Australians rely on food
relief from Foodbank’s agencies each month, with over one-third of recipients being children.
Australian dairy’s leading manufacturers, including Devondale Murray Goulburn, Fonterra Australia and Lion Dairy & Drinks, support Foodbank. Donations
of milk, cheese, spreads and yoghurts help make nutritious meals every day for families and school children that would otherwise miss out.
However, food insecurity in Australia is worsening, as demand for food relief outpaces supply. Each month, more than 60,000 Australians seeking food relief
are unable to be assisted.
The Sustainable Development Goals recently released by the United Nations includes a goal to
eliminate hunger by 2030.
This goal includes a target to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and
production, as well as help maintain ecosystems.
The Australian dairy industry is committed to enhancing livelihoods and improving wellbeing, and has established an industry-wide sustainability framework to help achieve these goals.
The framework’s targets include ensuring dairy contributes to improved health outcomes for all Australians, as well as ensuring the rich source of nutrients
dairy provides continues to be produced in an environmentally sustainable way to the benefit of all.
Dairy – comprising nutrients critical for growth and development – will play an important part in any solution to this problem.
Eliminating world hunger in our lifetime will require a committed approach by all and the Australian dairy industry is proud to play its part.