State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World

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    • Recently, the 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) was released.
      • The report is presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

    Key Findings

    • Deviation from the Goal: The world is moving further away from its goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.
    • People affected: The number of people globally affected by hunger went up to 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020. 
      • World hunger levels have gone up by 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Future projections: Nearly 670 million people, or 8 percent of the world population, will still be facing hunger in 2030 — even if a global economic recovery is considered — are adding to the worrying situation.
    • Food insecurity: Around 2.3 billion people worldwide (29.3 per cent) were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021.
    • Food Inflation: It has been on an unprecedented rise worldwide, triggered by two years of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced disruption and now the Russia-Ukraine war
    • Another reason for disruptions: The disruption comes as supply chains are already being adversely affected by increasingly frequent extreme climate events, especially in low-income countries, and has potentially sobering implications for global food security and nutrition.

    Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger

    • What’s the goal: 
      • To end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
    • Why: 
      • Extreme hunger and malnutrition remains a barrier to sustainable development and creates a trap from which people cannot easily escape. 
      • Hunger and malnutrition mean less productive individuals, who are more prone to disease and thus often unable to earn more and improve their livelihoods. 
      • 2 billion people in the world do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. 
      • In 2019, 144 million children under the age of 5 were  stunted, and 47 million were affected by wasting.
    • How can we achieve zero hunger: 
      • Food security requires a multi-dimensional approach – from social protection to safeguard safe and nutritious food especially for children – to transforming food systems to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable world. 
      • There will need to be investments in rural and urban areas and in social protection so poor people have access to food and can improve their livelihoods.  
    • The Challenge:
      • Globally, the proportion of undernourished people in developing regions has fallen by almost half since 1990, from 23.3% in 1990-1992 to 12.9% in 2014-2016. 
      • As per FAO estimates, 2017 saw the third consecutive rise in world hunger, with the absolute number of undernourished people i.e. those facing chronic food deprivation increasing to 821 million. 
      • One in every 9 people in the world is undernourished. Asia’s decreasing trend in undernourishment seems to be slowing down significantly, with 515 million deemed undernourished in 2017. 
      • Unless we profoundly rethink global food and agricultural systems, it is estimated that the number of hungry people worldwide could drastically climb by 2050.
    • India and Goal 2:
      • South Asia still faces one of the greatest hunger burdens, with over 15% of the population considered undernourished. 
      • If done right, agriculture and forests can become sources of decent incomes for the global population, the engines of rural development, and our vanguard against climate change. 
      • Concern:
        • The agricultural sector accounts for about 40% of the total employment in India. 
        • However, the agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors contribute only 15.5% to GDP value added. 
      • Initiatives:
        • The Government of India has prioritised strengthening agriculture through measures in irrigation, crop insurance, and improved varieties. 
        • The government has also taken critical steps to enhance food security, including through an India-wide targeted public distribution system, a National Nutrition Mission and the National Food Security Act. 
        • The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture and many national schemes on horticulture, agricultural technology and livestock are leading the way in improving India’s agriculture.

    Image Courtesy: UN 

    Way Ahead

    • Repurposing food and agricultural support to target nutritious foods where per capita consumption does not yet match the recommended levels for healthy diets as one of the ways to support economic recovery. 
    • The evidence suggests that if governments repurpose the resources they are using to incentivise the production, supply and consumption of nutritious foods, they will contribute to making healthy diets less costly, more affordable and equitably for all.
    • Governments could do more to reduce trade barriers for nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables and pulses.

    Source: DTE