Six digital reads to kickstart your 2022

FAO now offers digital formats of some of its top publications

FAO’s publications collection is a great source of knowledge for food, agriculture and more! ©FAO/Fabrizio Puzzilli


As we enter a new year, now is the perfect time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past 12 months and set new goals for the year ahead. And if those goals involve brushing up on your knowledge of things like food security, healthy diets and climate, you’ve come to the right place!

FAO’s publications collection contains a wealth of information on food, agriculture and more, and over the past year, we’ve also been working on making that information more accessible. FAO is now offering digital reports for many of its top publications, presenting information in a striking, easy-to-digest format – all at the scroll of a mouse or the tap of a screen.

Here’s just a small selection to whet your appetite! 

The State of Food and Agriculture 2021: Making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses

What better place to start than one of FAO’s most popular flagship publications, this year focusing on a hot topic: agrifood systems. Globally, these systems produce some 11 billion tonnes of food each year and form the backbone of many economies. In an ideal world, agrifood systems would be resilient, inclusive and sustainable, offering vibrant livelihoods and producing sufficient and safe food for all. Unfortunately, however, agrifood systems today fail to keep about 10 percent of the world’s population free from hunger. The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 highlights the problems facing agrifood systems today and explores how people, governments and policymakers can make these systems more resilient. It is essential reading for anyone interested in making our world more sustainable.

Whether it’s food, agriculture, nutrition or climate change that you’re interested in, FAO has a publication for you. Left/top: ©FAO/Olivier Asselin. Right/bottom: ©FAO/Miguel Schincariol

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021: Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on many people, businesses, sectors and initiatives – including efforts to end world hunger. Before the pandemic hit, it was already going to be difficult to reach the goal of ending world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. Now, this goal is significantly more challenging. The State of Food Security and Nutrition 2021 presents the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020 and offers some indication of what hunger and malnutrition would look like by 2030, in a scenario further complicated by the pandemic. One of the key questions posed in this year’s report is: how did the world get to this critical point? To find out, give the report a read.

International Year of Fruits and Vegetables: background paper

2021 has been a memorable year for fruits and vegetables! The United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and throughout the past 12 months there have been events, publications, celebrations and partnerships to raise awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of consuming more fruits and vegetables, the importance of cutting down on their loss and waste and the benefits of the sector for small-holders and the environment. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fruits and vegetables due to challenges in production, transport, trade and high prices. On top of that, fruits and vegetables are highly perishable products, and this can cause high levels of loss and waste. This publication lays out actions and policies that we all should be aware of in order to widen access to fruit and vegetables and deliver healthy diets for all. 

Scientific review of the impact of climate change on plant pests

Climate change has been on the news almost every day this year. The climate crisis presents challenges not only for humans and animals, but also for plants as it affects the introduction and spread of harmful organisms like plant pests. In fact, you may not realise this, but a single unusually warm winter may be enough for invasive pests to establish themselves in areas they wouldn’t otherwise inhabit. Studies indicate that, in general, climate change will increase the risks of insect pests, pathogens and weeds introductions in agricultural ecosystems, especially in today’s cooler Arctic, boreal, temperate and subtropical regions. This interesting publication explores this issue, laying out recommendations on how we can turn the tide and keep our plants and ecosystems safe.

Find out more about the current status of land, soil and water resources and the alarming changes in their use over recent years with SOLAW 2021. ©FAO/Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

The State of Land and Water Resources for food and agriculture 2021: Systems at a breaking point (SOLAW 2021)

This report gives an overview of the status of land, soil and water resources and lays bare the alarming changes and trends in resource use. The situation has seriously deteriorated in the last decade and the pressure on land and water ecosystems is now intense. However, while the scale of the challenge is daunting, SOLAW 2021 provides actions and responses that can help decision-makers in the public, private and civil sectors to bring much-needed transformation to our global agri-food systems. It is worth a read to find out what changes are needed to get our planet back on track. 

Global assessment of soil pollution

Soil pollution is invisible to the human eye, but it compromises the quality of the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. In short, it puts human and environmental health at risk. And humans are largely to blame. Most of the contamination comes from industrial processes and mining, poor waste management, unsustainable farming practices and accidents ranging from small chemical spills to accidents at nuclear power plants. The problem is worldwide: contaminants are spread throughout terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and many are distributed globally by atmospheric transport. This global assessment was produced with contributions from 75 countries, 53 co-authors and 17 companies and peer-reviewed by 40 international scientists and experts in contaminated land management.  These are issues we should all be aware of, making this one of FAO’s most popular reports. Make sure you’re up to speed too!

There’s something for everyone in FAO’s publications collection, so why not head on over and check them out? For the latest releases, you can also sign up for FAO’s publications newsletter – happy New Year’s reading!

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