FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO marks World Food Week and World Food Day in Yemen with creativity and resilience

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) uses creative means to celebrate World Food Week and World Food Day across Yemen in accordance with covid-19 restrictions – utilizing social media, radio shows and traditional media throughout the governorates of Hadhramaut, Abyan, Lahj, Taiz and Hodeida.

Rashed, a farmer from Ibb governorate in Yemen, grows food in his farm to provide his family with income and his community with fresh vegetables (©FAO/Ali Ashwal).

14 October 2020, Sana’a, Yemen – This week marks the occasion of World Food Week (12–18 October) and World Food Day (16 October) and FAO’s 75th anniversary. On 16 October 1945, FAO was founded and every year since 1979, World Food Day has been celebrated on that day. During this week, the occasion is used to highlight a wide variety of popular events in Yemen promoting the slogan “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together.”

FAO Yemen has deployed a creative, action-oriented campaign calling on various audiences – from national and local authorities and decision-makers, to the private sector, farmers and the general public – through social media, multi-media and traditional media on a national level to raise awareness on how everyone has a role to play in transforming our food systems. 

Food choices made on a daily basis at all levels of the food chain can improve both our health and that of our food systems, preserving and supporting them, respecting food and food producers. Joining in any global solidarity efforts wherever possible is critical, despite these uncertain times. Women specifically play an outsized and under-acknowledged role in Yemen’s rural farming, making dietary decisions, providing 60 percent of labour in crop farming, 90 percent in livestock rearing and 10 percent of wage labour.

“This year, World Food Day takes on a particularly urgent nature in Yemen and around the world. We are beset by a global pandemic and an ongoing conflict that has devastated the food security of this nation,” said Dr Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Yemen. “More than ever it is critical to address this disaster’s drivers. FAO is implementing a multi-pronged program to meet the needs of farmers and their families, but we require the support of the international community to do so.”

World Food Day gives us an important opportunity to boost awareness around covid-19’s impact on Yemen’s agricultural value chain and also acknowledge farmers’ vital role in food production during the crisis. FAO Yemen has the utmost gratitude for – and is proud of supporting – the country’s farmers and food producers. As states around the world suffer the impacts of the pandemic, World Food Day is launching a global (and local in Yemen) call for solidarity to help the most vulnerable people – especially women-headed households, the elderly and the disabled – to recover and make food systems more sustainable, stronger and resilient to shocks.

“Each of us has a role to play, from making good food choices, improving both our health and our food system, to not letting sustainability fall off the agenda,” said Gadain. “After all, saving livelihoods is saving lives. Together, we can aspire to be transformative and make sure that our food systems grow nourishing food for a growing population, sustaining the planet, together.”


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