By Mudassir Raja
The world remembered people in conflict-hit areas on this year’s World Food Day. The theme of the October 16 Day was: “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.”
The day was also observed in Qatar. The country has won great respect and recognition for taking extraordinary measures to ensure the food supply chain and initiatives towards achieving self-sufficiency in the future.
The official message of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) notes, “The world is on the move. More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War due to increased conflict and political instability. But hunger, poverty, and an increase in extreme weather events linked to climate change are other important factors contributing to the migration challenge.”
The message further states, “Large movements of people today are presenting complex challenges, which call for global action. Many migrants arrive in developing countries, creating tensions where resources are already scarce, but the majority, about 763 million, move within their own countries rather than abroad.”
The world body has urged developed countries to pay attention to people hit by conflict, poverty, and food scarcity around the world.
The world however, at the same time praised Qatar for managing its food supplies. Both local and international media have reported that Qatar has not only maintained the food supply but also conceived many projects to gain self-reliance in food production. Projects such as establishing agricultural, dairy, and poultry farms are underway and will be completed in due course.
Community interviewed people in the education sector to ascertain how they see the World Food Day, Qatar’s success, and making young students aware of the significance and safety of food.
Majida al-Tamimi, head of science and health science department at DeBakey High School for Health Professions, said Qatar had shown exemplary leadership despite the adversity.
“I saw no shortage of anything. Rather, many new and even Qatari brands are coming up in the market. The new brands are fresher and cheaper. It is good that the country is going towards self-reliance,” she said.
Majida disclosed that they teach their students regularly about how to consume food in a healthy way and not waste it. “We have regular sessions with students starting from Grade VII. At Grades VII, VIII, and IX, we teach them the basics about food; in particular how to choose a healthy diet. We tell them what is good for them to eat and what not to eat,” she said.
The senior teacher further noted, “From Grade X to XII, we teach the students about the significance and value of food. We teach them that what may not be important for them can be necessary for the survival of other people. We continuously update our students in higher classes with facts and figures about what is going on around the world and how hunger affects people.”
She added they also had different student clubs in the school for discussion and debate where the students were encouraged to share ideas with each other to have a better understanding of different things.
Majida said they also encouraged their students to save money and share food items with other children. To teach our students, they are often asked to buy bottle of waters and distribute among people working in open places. Such activities are good for students to inculcate in them a sense of responsibility about caring for others, she noted.
Alistair Downs, head of the Royal Grammar School, said it was necessary to apprise the students of what was going on around them and much better to do it at an early age.
“We are an international school with students coming from 20 different countries. In curricular and extracurricular activities, we teach young students about the value of food. We arrange regular events aimed at bringing them together,” Downs said.
He said, “Students in a multi-cultural environment share, learn, grow, and develop for a better life in future. We celebrate an international day on October 16 in the school where students and their parents bring their food and food from different cultures are shared and offered to each other.”
He felt students might not be mature enough to understand the extent of deprivation and hunger elsewhere. They however, learn to share and care for each other in an enabling environment.
Regarding the food supply situation in Qatar, Downs said, “I have seen no shortage and had no problem finding the items I like the most. What we are rather seeing is that Qatar has started developing its food industry.”
Meanwhile, The Next Generation School (TNG) organised different events to raise awareness among the students about the value and safety of food.
The students participated in making posters selecting various topics related to the World Food Day. From healthy food habits to eliminating malnutrition, they made beautiful posters during special class activities. Some of the students shared their views about the significance of eating right and how they can work together to face the challenges of providing nutrition to people in areas where people are suffering hunger. Interactive discussions were conducted by senior students where they spoke about meeting the sustainable food and agriculture demand in the face of recent climatic changes and growing population.
Riyaz Ahmed Bakali, Director TNS, said, “It is a blessing to live in Qatar is where all citizens are in good care with enough supply of clean water, food and medical facilities. Above all, Qatar takes the responsibility of providing quality education to each and every child residing in the state.”
10 facts you need to know about hunger
*The world produces enough food to feed everyone, yet, about 800 million people suffer from hunger. That is one in nine people; 60% of them are women.
*About 80% of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas. Most of them depend on agriculture.
*Hunger kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and Aids combined.
*Around 45% of infant deaths are related to malnutrition.
*The cost of malnutrition to the global economy is the equivalent of USD 3.5 trillion a year.
*1.9 billion people — more than a quarter of the world’s population — are overweight.
*One third of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted.
*The world will need to produce 60 percent more food by 2050 to feed a growing population.
*No other sector is more sensitive to climate change than agriculture.
*FAO operates mainly in rural areas, in 130 countries. It works with governments, civil society, the private sector and other partners to achieve #ZeroHunger.
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