The agri-food system is everything that lies behind what we put on our plates: the land, the climate, cultivation, supply systems, transport and distribution. It is a long chain in which many players are involved: on our plates is the work of a billion people around the world. Agriculture also includes non-food products, such as forestry and biofuels. The pandemic has highlighted the link between man's health and the planet's health. It is unthinkable that the agri-food system will not enter a crisis if it is continually tested by floods, drought, pathologies and insect invasions. The population of large urban centers is destined to increase, while at the same time the countryside is depopulated.
The Earth's alarm calls each of us to action. No need to be a scientist to act, one just needs to be a consumer: with our choices we can become engines of change. We are facing a global challenge: to transform the agri-food system and ensure access to healthy and nutritious food to a world population that continues to grow without damaging the planet.
Consumers are a central link in the agri-food system. If on the one hand we are influenced by the messages conveyed through food, on the other hand our behavior can influence market choices. Buying seasonal products in local markets on the one hand supports local economies and small producers, and on the other decreases emissions due to transport - how much CO2 does it cost to buy out-of-season food from the other side of the world?
Once again this year, the World Food Day is celebrated in the sign of defeat: more than 3 billion people in the world (almost 40%) do not have access to healthy food on an ongoing basis, 800 million are undernourished. Covid-19 only made the disaster numbers worse. All the more reason to intensify the fight against food loss and waste: 14% of the food produced does not reach the markets, 17% is wasted. Enormous figures that have an invisible cost: 8% of CO2 emissions are attributable to the energy used to produce and dispose of food that no one will eat. It is not so much a problem of lack of resources as of mismanagement of the agri-food system.
To transform the agri-food system we need concerted actions between the public and private sectors that involve not only agriculture, but also trade, health, environment, education, infrastructure, business, research
"Our actions are our future" recites a claim of the FAO.
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