World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16 October in honour of the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The special day is commemorated by various government, non-government as well as international organisations, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which are concerned with food security. This year's theme is "Our actions are our future. A #ZeroHunger world by 2030 is possible". Ahead of the World Food Day 2018, 16th October, three food and agriculture agencies of the United Nations in India - World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - came together to mark the day at a special event held on Sunday, 14th October at the UN House in New Delhi, India, to bring focus to the need to step up efforts to achieve #ZeroHunger.
Panel discussions capturing the policy perspective and that of the non-government sectors, including nutritionists, chefs, hospitality and NGO leaders, were held on the day along with a host of other activities.
Panel 1, with the theme 'Sustainable Solutions to Food and Nutrition Security for achieving Agenda 2030 in India: A Policy Perspective', was chaired by Dr. Hameed Nuru (Representative and Country Director, WFP India) along with other panelists Ravi Kant (Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution), Pawan Aggarwal (CEO, FSSAI), Siebe Schuur (Counsellor for Agriculture Nature and Food Quality, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Tomio Shichiri (FAO Representative in India).
"India is on an upward trajectory to achieve SDG 2, our aim now must be to bring all stakeholders together and share experiences not only within the country but also with other middle-income countries so that we can achieve our goals globally", said Dr. Hameed Nuru. Giving a policy perspective on the matter, Mr Ravi Kant, said, "The WFP has been working closely with the Government of India to strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS) so we can provide access to food for those in need. We are now taking this further through initiatives such as fortification of rice that is distributed through the PDS. This will help fight micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia, especially amongst women and children through improved nutrition."
Panel 2, moderated by Ankit Kawatra (Founder, Feeding India), was the forum for non-government representatives, including Anahita Dhondy (Chef Manager, SodaBottleOpenerWala), Karan Tanna (Founder and CEO, Yellow Tie Hospitality), Dipanwita Chakraborty (Regional CSR Lead, Cargill India) and Dr. Seema Puri (National Vice President, Indian Dietetic Association) discussed ways in which the different sectors can contribute in curbing food wastage and promote wholesome and nutritious diets.
Other than the panel discussions, there was felicitation programme where six organisations were awarded for developing innovations in food production and sustainability. This included NGOs like 'Feedsomeone' and organisations like DJ Rocks, which makes snacks from uneaten or unutilised roti/chappati (Roti chips) amongst others. But, what interested us was the masterclass, held by Chef Nishant Choubey (Executive Chef, Roseate), where he prepared a very interesting vegetarian version of sushi, which was made out of left over spinach leaves and topped with water chestnuts.
There were food tasting stalls at the venue as well set up by All India Rasoi, SodaBottleOpenerwalla and Ichizen demonstrating how food waste can be used to make nutritious meals. But what caught our attention was the self-help group Afghan Refugee Kitchen-Ilham that displayed some very interesting low-cost nutritious food alternatives.