690 million people in the world suffer from hunger. Almost 9% of the world population. A figure that has been increasing in the last five years. The negative trend continues. In earlier stages, the number of people suffering from hunger started to go down. This trend was broken in 2014. In the last five years, the number of people who have gone hungry has increased by 60 million. This was highlighted by the “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020” (SOFI) presented in New York.
“We are not on the right track” was the most heard phrase during the presentation. If the current trend continues, it will not be possible to achieve the objectives set by the SDG 2 for 2030; there will be 840 million people who go hungry. A figure that is far removed from the concept of zero hunger that marks that SDG. On top of these dark forecasts, we must also take into account the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus. The calculation indicates that in 2020, the number of undernourished people in the world will increase by between 83 and 132 million solely as a consequence of Covid 19. The nutritional state of the most vulnerable population groups will be seriously damaged by the impact of the pandemic.
In this report SOFI also underscores that 2,000 million people do not have regular access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. The figure reaches 3,000 million in the case of people who cannot afford the cost of a healthy diet. The report notes that healthy diets have a cost five times higher than diets that simply meet energy requirements. South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are the most affected regions in this index: 57% of the population cannot access healthy diets. The diet-cost binomial has another side: the health consequences. According to SOFI, if people continue with current eating habits, health costs related to diet in 2030 will exceed 1.3 trillion USD.
If we focus on the child population, the picture does not improve. About a quarter of children under five around the world suffer from stunted growth due to poor nutrition.
The report, which responds to the joint work of five agencies of the United Nations (FAO, IFAD, WHO, WFP and UNICEF), advocates for policy coordination: “countries will have to rebalance agricultural policies and incentives to undertake investment measures and policies that take into account nutrition throughout the food supply chain, in order to reduce food losses and enhance efficiency in all phases. Social protection policies that take into account nutrition will also be essential for countries to increase the purchasing power of the most vulnerable populations and affordability of healthy diets for these populations. Policies that encourage behavioural change towards healthier diets in a broader way will also be needed.”
More information about SOFI can be found here.