Science against Hunger: October 16 is World Food Day

Eurice involved in four Horizon 2020 projects on sustainable food production

Targeting a #ZeroHunger world by 2030: Every year on October 16, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations celebrates the World Food Day. The theme #ZeroHunger reflects the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) fixed in the United Nations Agenda 2030. This year’s claim “Our Actions are our Future” aims to raise awareness of the fact that it definitely needs joint efforts and a multi-actor approach to ensure everyone, everywhere, has access to the safe, healthy and nutritious food they need.

After a short period of decline, chronic hunger and malnutrition are on the rise again globally. Conflict, extreme weather events linked to climate change, economic slowdown and rapidly increasing overweight and obesity levels are reversing progress made in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. This is where our EU-funded projects in the field of sustainable agriculture and food production kick in: International researchers, breeders and farmers are joining efforts to develop crop varieties better adapted to the changing climatic conditions with the overall aim to make fruit and vegetable production environmentally and economically sustainable.

Increasing biodiversity in the food sector: The Eurice Horizon 2020 portfolio

In addition to the already completed project TRADITOM, our portfolio of currently running Horizon 2020 projects comprises another four projects specifically dealing with sustainable food production:

The 19-partner project GoodBerry focuses on improving berry production and fruit nutritional quality under climate change scenarios making sure that attractive fruit choices are accessible to a wide population. Browse through the project website or watch the animated clip to learn more about GoodBerry.

TomGEM was launched in 2016 with the aim to design heat-tolerant tomato varieties and management practices in the light of rapidly changing climatic conditions worldwide. Watch the TomGEM interview clips and visit the website to learn more.

G2P-SOL also focuses on solanaceae: The international research endeavour aims to understand and utilise the genetic diversity of the four major solanaceous food crops (potato, tomato, pepper and eggplant) in order to increase sustainability of agriculture in the face of a changing environment and the appearance of new pests. On the occasion of this year’s World Food Day, we have supported the consortium in the production of an interview series with central actors in the field sharing their views on the importance of plant genetic resources. The interviews are available on the G2P-SOL website.

The youngest member of our food project family is the Horizon 2020 project BRESOV: The 22 partners are focussing on three important vegetable crops (broccoli, snap bean and tomato) with the main aim to increase the plants’ tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and adapt the varieties to the specific requirements of organic and low-input production processes. Take a look at the recently launched project website developed by the Eurice team to learn more about BRESOV.

Why should we care about World Food Day and #ZeroHunger?

  • The right to food is a basic human right.

  • Investing in sustainable food systems and rural development means addressing some of the major global challenges - from feeding the world’s growing population to protecting the global climate, and tackling some of the root causes of migration and displacement.

  • Achieving the 17 SDGs cannot happen without ending hunger, and without having sustainable and resilient, climate-compatible agriculture and food systems that deliver for the people and the planet.

  • Despite a recent increase in hunger figures, reaching #ZeroHunger is possible: out of the 129 countries monitored by FAO, 72 have already achieved the target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015; over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, with about 17,000 children saved every day; extreme poverty rates have been cut in half since 1990.

Willing to make a change?

Visit the World Food Day website to learn more about the global campaign and see what countries, businesses, farmers, government representatives and every individual can do to achieve #ZeroHunger!