Report warns that inflation, war and COVID-19 are leading to malnutrition



July 11, 2022 – World hunger has skyrocketed during the pandemic, destroying the goals set by the United Nations in 2015. Food security experts assert that the only way to keep 8% of the world’s population undernourished by 2030 is to Reuse of existing economic subsidies. and strategies that address the problems of conflict, climate change and high inflation.

A new UNICEF-led report suggests that if 670 million people are not treated appropriately, they will face starvation and malnutrition.

“We are still seeing the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and nutrition and the measures taken to contain it, and the war in Ukraine has made the situation even more difficult,” Cindy Holman, chief economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization, recounts. nutrition.

“This year’s report focuses on the high cost and unaffordability of healthy diets,” Holman says. Nearly 3.1 billion people can’t afford it. It is crucial to look beyond hunger – it is not only important that you have enough to eat; This food must be nutritious. The reason millions of people are food insecure and malnourished is that healthy diets are out of reach.”

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World: 2022 jointly led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). World Food Programme.

Reassessment and restructuringThe report notes that current policies will have to be completely restructured to address the setbacks caused by the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine.
The authors believe this means that current policies and strategies to enhance food security have failed and must be redirected. Although global support for food and agriculture averages US$630 billion annually, most of it does not reach individual farmers or is used as intended.

Moreover, many of these policies can have negative impacts on indigenous peoples and small producers, destroy local environments and still do not provide adequate nutrition. This is due to the focus on staples that, in some cases, actually punish nutritious fruits and vegetables, making them more expensive.

For example, grain production has been overemphasized at the expense of more nutritious foods. These policies help provide enough calories, but do not help meet nutritional needs. However, even basic food items are under threat. The report notes that these policies must be modified if any progress is to be made towards ending world hunger.

“The pandemic has widened existing inequalities in income, assets and access to services, adding to the challenge of ending hunger,” Holman concludes. It is not easy to recover quickly from the effects of economic shocks, supply chain disruptions and the cumulative negative effects of the pandemic on people’s lives and livelihoods. These are structural issues, requiring significant investment and recovery time. “The report states that current policies will have to be completely restructured to address the setbacks caused by the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine.

Mystery loomsCindy Holman, chief economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization, says people need more than just food, they need nutrition.
The current conflict in Ukraine is another major factor in current and future food insecurity. The report asserts that the war in Ukraine will continue to have devastating effects on the world’s nutrition if no further action is taken, causing scarcity and inflation.

Holman explains: “Although the report summarizes the state of food security and nutrition until 2021, the ongoing war in Ukraine poses an additional challenge to ending hunger and casts a shadow over the state of food security and nutrition for many countries, particularly those already facing hunger and food crisis situations.” .

FAO has conducted simulations that take into account two risks arising from the conflict. Trade risk (reflected in the halt in wheat and maize exports from Ukraine) and price risk (reflected in higher commodity and energy prices). Based on preliminary analysis under different scenarios – the war in Ukraine could add an additional 7.6 million to 19 million malnourished people in 2023.”

The crisis is escalating sharply
The authors state that world hunger and malnutrition worsened significantly from 2019 to 2020 and continued to grow in 2021. The number of people facing undernourishment grew from 8 to 9.3% from 2019 to 2021 and an additional 0.5% in 2021, which means that between 702 and 828 million people faced hunger last year. This is an increase of 149 million people in three years.

By the end of 2021, 11.7% of the world’s population was facing severe levels of food insecurity, with severe consequences for the most vulnerable. The authors estimate that globally 22% of children under five are stunted, 6.7% are wasted, and 5.7% are overweight.

“Diet quality is an important link between food security and nutrition,” Holman notes. “Poor diet quality can lead to various forms of malnutrition, including nutritional deficiencies, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity.”

“There were 122 million people unable to afford a healthy diet in 2020 compared to 2019. This increase reflects consumer food price inflation caused by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it.”

By William Bradford Nichols

This feature is provided by food ingredientssister site, nutrition.

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