AFRICA: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World has disclosed that there was a dramatic worsening of world hunger in 2020 with Africa experiencing the sharpest rise in hunger due to the pandemic.
The report stated that the continent’s spike in hunger resulted in the estimated prevalence of undernourishment as 21 per cent of the population is malnourished.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is a report jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Details of the Report
According to the report, hunger shot up in 2020 in both absolute and proportional terms, outpacing population growth.
“Some 9.9 per cent of all people are estimated to have been undernourished last year, up from 8.4 per cent in 2019”, the report stated.
The report further stated that more than half of all undernourished people resulting in 418 million people live in Asia while more than a third resulting in 282 million people in Africa pointing that a smaller proportion resulting in 60 million people lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“But the sharpest rise in hunger was in Africa, where the estimated prevalence of undernourishment at 21 per cent of the population is more than double that of any other region.”
The report which is the first global assessment of its kind in the pandemic era further stated that more than 2.3 billion people around the world lacked year-round access to adequate food.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World further exposed that malnutrition persisted in all its forms in 2020 pointing that children are paying a high price.
“In 2020, over 149 million under-five children are estimated to have been stunted, or too short for their age, more than 45 million wasted, or too thin for their height while nearly 39 million were overweight. A full three-billion adults and children remained locked out of healthy diets, largely due to excessive costs.”
The Report states that in many parts of the world, the pandemic triggered brutal recessions and jeopardized access to food.
Due to the current trend of food security and nutrition, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World estimated that Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger by 2030) will be missed by a margin of nearly 660 million people. Of these 660 million, some 30 million may be linked to the pandemic’s lasting effects.
The report stated that transforming food systems is essential to achieve food security, improve nutrition and put healthy diets within reach of all.
The report outlined six transformation pathways that would counteract the hunger and malnutrition drivers.
Policymakers and governments were urged to integrate humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict areas, scale-up climate resilience across food systems, strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity, Intervene along supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods, tackle poverty and structural inequalities and strengthen food environments and changing consumer behaviour.