United Nations World Food Programme warns of a looming food crisis, ranging from affordability to availability

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The United Nations World Food Program has issued unprecedented world wide emergency in which 345 million people are on the verge of hunger

David Beasley the executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, stated that 345 million people face mild food insecurity in 82 countries.

F.A.O and the Hunger Index citations

Over 2 billion individuals experience deficits of one or more micronutrients, and there are still over 822 million people who are undernourished.

United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization citations

  • Around 828 million people were estimated to be food insecure in 2021, and 149 million children were underweight and at risk of stunting.
    • These figures represent a 9.8% increase since 2019.
    • The Global breastfeeding rate stands at 44% (with the goal to reach 50% by 2030).
  • 2.3 billion people worldwide experienced severe food insecurity (which is 350 million more than the Pre-COVID level).
  • The gender gap in food insecurity widened in 2021, with roughly 31.9% of women and 27.6% of men experiencing severe food insecurity globally. Records show that this disparity increased by 4% in 2021 and 3% in 2020.
  • By 2020, approximately 3.1 billion people worldwide would be unable to afford a healthy diet, owing primarily to inflation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (which stood at 112 million in 2019).
  • Nearly 45 million young kids (underneath the age of 5) experienced malnutrition-related wasting. Also, 39 million children were overweight while 149 million infants (underneath the age of 5) were stunted because of a lack of critical nutrients in their diets.

Causes

Inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, military coups, and flawed agricultural policies are all major contributors to this problem.

A significant amount of agricultural money are stolen before they can reach the farmers, according to the 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report (as found in the U.S).

Inflation

With current economic inequality (where 10% of the global population owns 76% of global wealth and 50% own only 2%), inflation is unavoidable in all sectors, with Africa and the United States serving as prime examples for “wealth and income inequality” respectively.

• Global economic inequality increased by 5% between 2000 and 2019.

• In addition, the supply chain has been disrupted and burdens associated with migration have been brought on by events like the COVID-19 epidemic, the war in Russia and Ukraine, and the crises in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

• The urban poor around the world spend up to 75% of their income on food.

• Another source of concern is the recent military coups in Myanmar and African countries (Sudan, Mali, and Ethiopia), Pakistan’s obstinate government, and Sri Lanka’s flawed agricultural policy, which has resulted in a severe food shortage.

Climate change

• Climate change is not perceived as a biophysical challenge, resulting in poor decision-making.

• There is no emphasis on the outcome of consumption, economic growth, or societal choices.

• The frequency and intensity of catastrophic weather events such as storms, forest fires, floods, and droughts have increased. Since 1900, the global average sea level has risen by 16 to 21 centimeters.

Eg:

o The Mekong Delta, which supplies 50% of Vietnam’s rice, is being impacted by sea level rise.

o In low and middle-income countries, roughly one-third of farm produce is wasted between the field and the market.

• Studies show that higher CO2 concentrations reduce crop protein, zinc, and iron content. As a result, by 2050, approximately 175 million additional people may suffer from zinc deficiency and 122 million from protein deficiency.

• Climate variability accounts for 80% or more of the year-to-year variation in cereal production in semi-arid regions.

Illustrations of the food crisis and inflation in certain nations

United Nations World Food Programme warns of a looming food crisis, ranging from affordability to availability

United Nations World Food Programme warns of a looming food crisis, ranging from affordability to availability
Images Source – Economic impact: Global Food Security Index (GFSI)

Solution and recommendations

  • Climate change mitigation must be coordinated with a focus on lifestyle, food habits, and social responsibility.

  • All nations must strictly adhere to the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in CoP 26, and the climate change mitigation funds provided by developed nations to developing nations must be grants (which now are predominantly loans).

  • Using natural knowledge to implement agricultural strategies for example, Andean farmers in Bolivia have traditionally used bioindicators—natural phenomena such as stars, wind, plants, and animals—as part of their risk management strategy and agricultural cycle planning.

Read More –

  1. Alarming situation of Global Food Availability.
  2. UN World Food Program warns world is facing global emergency as around 345 million people marching toward starvation.
  3. Crisis in Ukraine will have catastrophic impact on global hunger, says UN World Food Program.
  4. UN Report: Global hunger numbers rose to as many as 828 million in 2021.
  5. World Hunger Rose In 2021: UN – Asiana Times.

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