Somalia

FAO Somalia WFP Somalia and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation host a joint virtual event to mark World Food Day

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*The online session called for local action to improve the systems that produce and distribute the food in Somalia. *

FAO in Somalia in partnership with the World Food Programme in Somalia and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation held a joint virtual event on 18 October to mark this year's World Food Day. The event was attended by participants from across government, UN agencies, civil society, academia and the private sector. The online event intended to explore how food systems champions are transforming the agri-food systems in Somalia to support this year's theme "Our actions are our future- better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life". The webinar featured a recital by Somali youth poet and activist Suheyra Abdisahal, the Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihoods (GEEL) Somalia discussed "Value Chains and Private Sector Engagement for Transformed Food Systems" and the SUN Movement presented "Towards Transformed Food Systems in Somalia".

World Food Day is celebrated every year in over 150 countries to gather support and share actions on SDG 2: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Each year has a different theme revolving around food systems, agriculture, food and investments to increase production of food products.

"As the Government, we are committed at the highest levels to creating an enabling environment for equitable and sustainable food systems in Somalia, as we believe this is the key to the country's human, economic and social development" said Hon. Said Hussein Iid, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of the Federal Government of Somalia.

The virtual event sought to showcase examples of ongoing initiatives, high-level dialogues and policy frameworks that are contributing to the achievement of SDG 2 in Somalia. "With the effects of climate change being felt the world over amidst an ever-growing population, we need to nurture the planet so that we can continue to meet the food production needs of the population in years to come. This requires us to build long-term resilience and change the way we produce and consume food" stated Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO in Somalia Country Representative.

On Saturday, the Government also celebrated World Food Day in Mogadishu. This event was funded by both FAO and WFP. The celebration also marked Somalia Farmers' Day, which occurs on 15 October every year.

FAO in Somalia supports vulnerable rural populations affected by shocks to get back on their feet while strengthening their resilience to future shocks through climate-sensitive, and adaptive livelihood and value chains programming across the productive sectors as well as supporting Government capacity to develop and implement sector-level policies and standards that promote sustainable food systems.

WFP's food systems interventions in Somalia interlock with its broader work to enable vulnerable communities to be more resilient in the face of natural shocks. They are also designed to be climate-smart, minimizing environmental impact and responding to the effects of climate change.

Actions beyond technical solutions

Somalia has, in the past few years, faced a range of recurrent and devastating shocks ranging from the ongoing desert locust invasion to severe floods and droughts, affecting the country's production system and individual livelihoods. This has caused lower crop yields, livestock losses and a drop in fisheries productivity as well as changes in the nutrient composition of major crops. The COVID-19 pandemic has further led to an increase in the number of people who suffer from hunger and made the road to ending hunger and malnutrition more challenging.

"Rehabilitating and strengthening inclusive food systems is an essential part of building a future where everyone in Somalia is able to consume a healthy and diverse diet," said Lara Fossi, the Deputy Country Director, WFP.

The EU Resilience Programme Coordinator, Luca Pagliara, emphasized that "Agri-food sectors sustain the livelihoods the majority of the people in Somalia, which are increasingly under stress due to climate change, environmental degradation, conflict and displacement" and he added that "making the food systems inclusive and sustainable is an urgent priority which will substantially contribute to tackling food insecurity, under-nutrition, poverty, inequality and strengthen the resilience of the people of Somalia".

FAO is now prioritizing nutrition mainstreaming in agri-food systems, by supporting informed inclusion of nutrition considerations into policies, strategies, investments, and actions of all actors, at all levels, that impact and/or rely on agri-food systems, to enable healthy diets for all people. FAO's new Strategic Framework 2022-2031 describes nutrition as a key technical theme of a cross-cutting nature explicitly visible in programmatic priority areas. The objective is to transform food supply chains, food environments, consumer behavior and diets to contribute to positive nutrition and health outcomes for all individuals, across the life cycle.