Image credits: Jose Thormann
News Article

Millions More are Suffering from Chronic Hunger: FAO

By Sofía Hanna | Mon, 07/18/2022 - 18:01

Trade plays an essential role in global food security, but numerous measures are contributing to price increases and volatility, harming those who depend on markets for their food security. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 150 million more people are suffering from chronic hunger and will likely worsen due to logistical problems caused by the war in Ukraine, warns the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 


"It is essential for countries to stop using trade measures that contribute to higher prices, extreme price volatility and harm those who depend on world markets for their food security," said QU Dongyu, Director General, FAO. Food security is constantly threatened on different fronts, from the repercussions of COVID-19 to persistent extreme weather conditions. These situations lend themselves to market transparency failures, worsening food volatility.


FAO’s 2022 edition of the "State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO)" study found several structural changes in global agri-food markets and a direct impact caused by trade measures. The geography of trade highlights considerable differences between countries. While global wealth has grown, the number of low-income countries has hardly changed, greatly affecting trade and food security. "Trade costs, which are also influenced by geography, are considerable and can partly isolate low-income countries and consequently limit their opportunities for growth and development,” reads the study.


Therefore, trading can be a powerful engine that dampens supply fluctuations around the world, reducing price volatility if used correctly. However, this has not been the case, according to FAO. The global cost of food imports will reach a new peak of US$1.8 trillion in 2022 due to higher prices and transportation costs rather than volumes. 


As many as 828 million people were chronically hungry in 2021, according to the report "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 (SOFI)," released on July 6. “This represents an increase of 150 million people since the outbreak of the pandemic," said Dongyu. The increase in global hunger in 2021 reflects exacerbated inequalities across and within countries due to an unequal pattern of economic recovery among countries and unrecovered income losses among those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, all in the context of diminishing social protection measures that had been implemented in 2020.


The UN, FAO and government officials are concerned about the economic uncertainty and its implications for those living in poverty and those that will be added to those ranks, as previously reported by MBN. In 2020, 52.8 percent of the population in Mexico did not have enough income to purchase goods and services necessary to meet their basic needs. Meanwhile, 17.2 percent did not have enough income to buy essential food for adequate nutrition and 67.7 percent had at least one social deprivation, as stated by BBVA Research

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Photo by:   Jose Thormann, Unsplash
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst