Food security hits crisis levels, FAO says
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is warning about a global crisis regarding food security.
According to the entity - which released the joint statement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group (WBG), World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) - poverty and food insecurity are both on the rise globally after decades of development gains.
Additionally, issues such as supply chain disruptions, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, financial tightening through rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine have all caused an unprecedented shock to the global food system.
Food inflation remains high in the world, with dozens of countries experiencing double digit inflation.
“Fertilizer affordability as defined by the ratio between food prices and fertilizer prices is also the lowest since the 2007-2008 food crisis, which is leading to lower food production and impacting smallholder farmers the hardest, worsening the already high local food prices,” the statement said.
According to WFP, 349 million people across 79 countries are acutely food insecure. The prevalence of undernourishment is also on the rise, following three years of deterioration.
Sadly, this situation is expected to worsen, with global food supplies projected to drop to a three-year low in 2022-23.
The need is especially dire in 24 countries that FAO and WFP have identified as hunger hotspots, of which 16 are in Africa.
“In response to the inflation of food, fuel and fertilizer prices, countries have spent over $710 billion for social protection measures covering 1 billion people, including approximately $380 billion for subsidies”.
FAO and these organizations are urging international governments to take urgent action.
“To prevent a worsening of the food and nutrition security crisis, further urgent actions are required to rescue hunger hotspots, facilitate trade, improve the functioning of markets, and enhance the role of the private sector, and reform and repurpose harmful subsidies with careful targeting and efficiency”.