𝗦𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲:
The translation of the video will be made available as soon as possible.
With the constant growth of the human population, the global demand for food is annually increasing. Food and health are synonymous, being closely related. Food security concept evolved out of the concern generated during the two world wars in the first half of the last century. These events resulted in widespread food shortages, due to Europe’s inability to produce healthy food, especially due to the contamination of natural resources by substances used in weapon manufacturing.
To ensure food quality, the surrounding environment before and after harvest, storage, and distribution must also follow certain guidelines that ensure security. The world population reached 7 billion people recently and food is still a rare commodity for about 20% of the citizens, who live below the global hunger index. After almost 100 years since World War I, food distribution is still a concern in many countries. The FAO recorded about 795 million hunger victims in 2016. On the other hand, 80% who consume food more than they need suffer from poor health and debilitating diseases. It is therefore urgent that actions be taken to promote the production of quality food, reduce waste rates, and guarantee the population’s access to these subsistence resources.
Food security policy being enacted by governments should consider agricultural products that provide not only conventional nutrition but also functional food constituents to improve health and quality of life of their citizens. Functional foods are being positioned as a response to several problems because they are considered a hyper-efficient mechanism for supplying essential nutrients.
One of the major problems that need to be overcome to achieve food security is the scarcity of natural resources. Soil degradation and water stress are some of the major challenges for food production in the world; an FAO study concluded that 30% of the world’s soils are in a state of degradation. This condition results in soils with low or no fertility, non-productive land, erosion processes, and landslides. Faced with these problems, we realize that there is still a lot to be done to guarantee good quality food on every people’s tables.
It has already been found that organic foods and beverages lead the overall retail value growth with a compound annual growth rate of 7% from 2012-2017, followed by produce-free, naturally healthy, and functional products. Recently, new farming approaches have been developing to help to obtain better food with higher quality. Nowadays, it has been verified a growing interest in how agritourism could be able to promote alternative nutrition stands out. In addition, also the so-called agriculture civic and urban agriculture has demonstrated to be a practice with increasingly followers. In this case, civic agriculture rather than emphasising increased economic or nutritional efficiencies, presents a holistic approach to food security that is more directly connected to the economic, environmental, and social factors that affect diet and health.
In this third webinar of our 4th “You are what you eat” cycle, we talked about the relationship between better farming approaches and how these can influence food quality; what is the importance of functional foods and how it can influence your health; and highlight the latest technological advances and challenges yet to be overcome in this area of research.