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Over 3bn people can’t access healthy diets globally —FAO

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The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has said about three billion individuals have been unable to access healthy, complete diets globally, a situation which it said calls for stringent measures.

In a statement made available to Ripples Nigeria on Friday, the FAO said the development was revealed in its ‘2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report’, released on Thursday.

Speaking at the opening session of the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) summit convened by the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, the FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu, said the situation calls for an urgent need to improve the global food systems.

According to Dongyu, the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world worsened the already bad situation, stressing the need for concerted efforts to ensure the production of healthy, safe and nutritious meals globally.

He noted that reacting to the alarming figure, the FAO has mapped out strategies to build more resilient food systems, saying the strategies would help countries across Africa and all other continents in their quest to attain food security.

Also, Dongyu noted that ensuring better nutrition was one of the key goals of FAO’s 2022-2031 strategic framework.

“FAO is committed to supporting the advancement of nutrition in Africa, where nearly 60 per cent of the population were affected by moderate or severe food insecurity in 2020, and even more are unable to afford healthy foods,” the Director-General added.

Meanwhile, in the statement, the FAO noted that it will ensure that at least 90 per cent of its new action plans related to agri-food systems will include enabling access to healthy diets as a priority, in the next four years.

Also, the FAO noted that it would ensure that at least 90 per cent of its country offices will actively provide support for its member states, to achieve better and healthier food systems.

READ ALSO: Over 833m hectares of soil affected by salt globally —FAO

FAO will increase the share of nutrition-sensitive projects and programmes by 50 per cent by 2025, and maintain or increase the share through 2030.

“Support Members, upon their request, in the implementation of the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction,” the statement read in part.

Meanwhile, others who participated in the summit are President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN Secretary-General; António Guterres, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar, Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak of Timor-Leste, World Bank President; David Malpass, World Health Organization Director-General; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore.

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