Healthy Food and Nutrition
CARE’s Food and Nutrition Security and Resilience to Climate Change strategy aims to improve access to healthy food for 50 million people by 2020, and aggressively address the fact that there is enough food produced in the world to feed everyone, but not everyone has equal access to it. Governance issues, gender inequality and climate change are major contributors to rising food and nutrition insecurity, which increases poverty, vulnerability and injustice. Therefore, good governance, gender equality and resilience to climate change are interlocking themes of CARE’s approach in working to strengthen sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture in developing countries we work in.
Despite progress in recent decades, about 795 million people – or around one in nine – still suffer from chronic undernourishment or hunger, according to a 2015 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
There are three major factors leading to food and nutrition insecurity:
The poverty equation is simple: people living in poverty (living on less than $1.90 per day) don’t have the money to buy food to feed themselves and their families.
Climate change affects food production, especially small-scale farmers’ production which represents 50 per cent of the food the world’s population eats. With increased drought, floods, and other disasters, crops die or no longer grow as well or as required for optimum yields and production.
Food waste and losses
This doesn’t just refer to food that is thrown away, but also food loss that occurs before it even reaches your plate (i.e. food gets damaged during processing, storage or transportation). A large amount of food is also diverted to feed animals (40 per cent of grain supply) and to produce biofuels. However, FAO has reported that, even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally (1.3 billion tons/year) could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.
What CARE is Doing:
At CARE, everything we do puts women and girls at the centre – access to nutritious food is no different. Women make up 43 per cent of agriculture labour globally and up 70 per cent in some developing countries. Women play a critical role in local food systems, from farm to fork: they grow, weed, harvest, sell and process food; collect water, firewood, and prepare meals. And yet despite their massive role when it comes to food, women often don’t have much say in decisions or sufficient access or skills to earn dignified income.
CARE’s innovative village savings and loan associations are one way we are helping families earn the money they need to buy healthy food. These groups help women save, start a business and get a loan, leading to empowerment and independence. Climate-resilient farming techniques (using drought-resistant seeds, for example), policy work with governments and capacity building, following weather forecasts and planning accordingly are also other key areas of CARE’s focus.
What CARE is Doing, Continued:
CARE is also proud to be part of the Aid4Ag campaign, together with over 35 other Canadian organizations, that highlights the importance of supporting sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation for small-scale farmers, especially women. We also collaborate with our colleagues worldwide to encourage countries, including Canada, to do more to address climate changes in support of the Paris Agreement.