In 1979, the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO) proclaimed October 16th as World Food Day.
Today is a global observance designed to raise awareness and understanding of different approaches to ending hunger. Food is a wonderful thing, and thanks to new technology and innovation in farming practices, farmers today are able feed around seven billion people globally! However, because our population is growing at such a fast pace, there are still roughly a billion people around the world that do not get enough food. This means that almost 1 in 7 people go to bed hungry every night. As our population has grown, hunger has become an increasingly prevalent issue. World Food Day seeks to remind us of this challenge, and also spotlight the different ways in which we can help the farmers tasked with overcoming it. Every year, World Food Day is accompanied with a theme. Last year, the theme was “Food prices- from crisis to stability.” This year, the theme is “Agricultural Cooperatives- key to feeding the world.” As many farmers know, an agricultural cooperative is a member owned organization which allows farmers to pool all of their resources into different areas of activity. According to the FAO, agricultural Co-ops are fundamental in providing solutions to the hunger problem because they allow smallholder farms to negotiate better prices for resources such as seed, fertilizer, and equipment. Take for example one of AGCO’s customers, Agrifirm. Agrifirm is a Dutch cooperative that serves over 17,000 Dutch farmers and horticulturists. They offer “maximum purchasing advantage of high quality products like animal feeds, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.” In addition to product purchasing power, Agrifirm also offers knowledge and sustainable solutions to its members. Cooperatives such as Agrifirm allow farmers to access to knowledge and equipment that will help boost farm productivity at a lower cost. The more that small scale farms are able to produce, the better they will be able to support their local regions. This is why the U.N believes agricultural cooperatives to be a key element in providing for our world. It is no secret that farmers are faced with a huge task in supplying food, fiber and fuel for a rapidly growing population. It will not be easy—but with the proper resources, continued advances in technology, and widespread participation—it will be possible. Learn more about world food day, and see how you can help make a difference!