In 2021, people affected by severe food insecurity in the world reached the figure of almost 200 million. And unfortunately it is a number destined to rise.
This is what emerges from the annual report of FAO-UN-EU Food Program, together with other members of the Global Network against Food Crisis. The study underlines that there are 53 countries or territories where the hunger emergency is a tragic reality due to conflicts and extreme climatic conditions. But also due to the increase in food prices. In this case, it is above all the pandemic to weigh. Compared to 2020, there is an increase of at least 40 million people among those affected by severe food insecurity. “These figures – reads the Report – also raise a strong alarm on a worrying trend: acute food insecurity has seen unstoppable growth in recent years”. Particularly affected areas are Ethiopia, South Sudan, Madagascar and Yemen. In these countries the risk of famine and widespread death is greater.
Invest in agriculture
“There is no time to waste”: it is necessary to allocate at least 1.5 billion dollars. “Agricultural production is possible and effective even in difficult crisis contexts”. “In many regions at risk, the sowing season is beginning or is about to begin.” “There is a window of opportunity – reads the Report – to stabilize and increase local food production”. The dossier also highlights that “60 and 80 percent of people currently in conditions of severe acute food insecurity are farmers, shepherds, fishermen and foresters in rural areas”. People “who depend on agriculture for survival”. For a family in serious trouble, even “a cup of milk a day can mean the difference between life and death”. This is why it is urgent to “invest in agriculture”. But “funding for the agricultural sector was remarkably scarce, accounting for only 8% of funds for the food security sector in 2020”. It is necessary to reverse this trend. “Investing in agriculture and rural livelihoods – recalled in relationship – it is strategic and economic: the yield is 10 times compared to food assistance “.
The impact of the war in Ukraine
Finally, the dossier also examines the effects of the conflict in Ukraine. “The war – the document emphasizes – will have the most devastating impacts on countries in food crisis, beyond those already on the brink of famine”. States that already face high levels of acute hunger, “are particularly vulnerable to the risks created by the situation in Eastern Europe, in particular because of their high dependence on imports of food and agricultural products and because of their vulnerability to food price shocks”. “Urgent large-scale humanitarian action is needed.”
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