European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies Faculty Member Assist. Assoc. Dr. İbrahim Kahramanoğlu made a statement due to the October 16 World Food Day.
Stating that “World Food Day” is celebrated every year on October 16, which is the establishment date of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Kahramanoğlu stated that in this context, FAO organizes events with different themes every year to emphasize the importance of food. Stating that FAO’s theme for this year’s World Food Day was determined as “Grow, Feed, Sustain: Together”), Kahramanoğlu said, “Countries, private sector and civil society, because we grow food in sufficient quantity and variety to feed the growing world population and the sustainability of our planet. should make sure that we provide it together, ”he said.
The concept of sustainable agriculture started to gain importance
Stating that everyone has roles in this context, Kahramanoğlu said, “The most important of these is to review our nutritional habits and to prefer foods that are easy to produce, do not disturb the environment and ecological balance, and have high nutritional value. Developments and breakthroughs in science and technology, especially since the 1950s, have made significant contributions to increase agricultural productivity. However, after the 1980s, the side effects of excessive use of inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, water, etc.) and uniform production in agriculture have emerged, both productivity decreased and environmental problems (decrease in soil and water quality, increase in diseases, decrease in biodiversity, etc.) has emerged. However, the concept of “sustainable agriculture” has started to gain importance, “he said.
On the other hand, it is estimated that 8.9% of the world population (678.1 million) is malnourished as of 2019 due to the imbalance in our food systems (food insecurity), although enough food is currently being produced to feed the entire world population, even more, ”said Kahramanoğlu. He stated that while this ratio was> 12% in the 2000s, it had a downward trend from those dates until 2014, but has been on the rise in recent years. Stating that the main reasons for food insecurity are hunger, obesity, environmental degradation, loss of agricultural biodiversity, decrease in productivity, food waste and lack of safety for food chain workers, Kahramanoğlu stated that countries began to develop and implement COVID-19 recovery plans, He pointed out that there is a very important opportunity to adopt solutions and develop new plans to improve food systems.
Pesticides used in a controlled and integrated manner with other methods do not pose a risk in terms of food safety.
At this point, Kahramanoğlu, who clarified the two concepts that are often confused with each other, said, “The concepts of food safety and food security are often confused. In its simplest form, food safety is a chemical (pesticide, etc.), physical (stone, glass, metal, etc.) and biological (Salmonella, etc.) E.coli, etc.) approaches to prevent or render harmless risk factors. “Food security is a concept that includes the ability of a society to produce enough and accessible food to meet its nutritional needs and a sustainable access to food produced.” Referring to the issue of food insecurity based on this point, Kahramanoğlu said: As I have mentioned before, the decreasing agricultural land and water resources in spite of the increasing world population make the productivity increase in the unit area important. For this, high technology (automatic irrigation and fertilization, high yield varieties, durable varieties, modified preservation technologies etc.) and controlled input (pesticide and fertilizer) are indispensable in agricultural activities. However, it is of great importance that all practices to ensure food safety while increasing productivity are planned and controlled within the framework of scientific facts. At this point, it is necessary to include a misunderstood “truth”. He also; It is related to the “harms” of chemicals used in agriculture. At this point, it does not threaten human health if the right chemical is used at the right time, at the right dose, with the right equipment and if the waiting period before harvest is followed. It is the dose that makes poison poison! Every chemical used in agriculture has a Maximum Residue Level (MKS) that can “threaten” human health, and these limits are determined by the Codex Pesticide Residues Committee-EPA and the European Union as a result of intensive scientific studies. In this context, if the chemical used in the production phase of any product remains below the limit specified in the food, it means preventing the possible damages of that chemical. Therefore, pesticides used in a controlled and integrated manner with other methods do not pose a risk in terms of food safety.
Referring to this year’s World Food Day theme further, Kahramanoğlu said that FAO will help all of humanity, especially the most vulnerable, out of the food crisis and make food systems more durable and robust, offer affordable and sustainable healthy diets so that they can withstand increasing fluctuations and climate shocks stated that it calls for global solidarity. “With COVID-19, we all have started to understand more clearly the necessity of more sustainable agricultural practices that protect natural resources, our health and climate, as well as new opportunities offered through digitalization and e-commerce,” Kahramanoğlu said.
Kahramanoğlu continued as follows: Foods of plant or animal origin contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and essential minerals necessary for human health. The increase in the human population simultaneously causes an increase in the need for food all over the world. Parallel to this, available resources essential for food production, especially soil and water, are running out. On the other hand, more than 30% of agricultural products cannot reach the final consumer due to post-harvest losses (rotting, deterioration, weight loss, etc.). In order to prevent post-harvest losses in foods, many methods are used that differ according to the type of food. Whether the foods are vegetable, animal, processed or primary type significantly affects the method to be chosen. Some of these methods are listed below:
Drying, Boiling, Pasteurization, Freezing, Cold storage, Canning, Confectionery, Pickles, Disinfection against rotting (synthetic and / or biological), Packaging, Vacuum packaging, Freeze drying, Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), Preservative use (synthetic and / or biological), Irradiation, High pressure packaging etc.
Finally, Kahramanoğlu said: This year’s theme of FAO, “Grow, Feed, Sustain: Together”, is not a goal that can be achieved by food producers alone, and as it can be understood from the concept of “together” at the end, it requires integrated and evidence-based approaches. In its simplest form, our eating habits should change along with our production habits and methods. For this, cooperation between researchers, politicians, farmers, consumer organizations, private sector, public and non-governmental organizations is indispensable.