While the number of food insecure people in the world has dropped to 795 million, one in every nine people still goes hungry. And the changing nature of global crises – including extreme weather events and political instability – is hampering efforts to reduce hunger. This is according to the latest edition of an annual hunger report – The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 – also called SOFI.
The report is published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme. It contains a wide range of data and recommendations on a variety of fronts.
The FAO monitors 129 countries for hunger and malnourishment. Seventy-two of those countries have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of halving undernourishment.
From the announcement of the report’s availability:
“If we truly wish to create a world free from poverty and hunger, then we must make it a priority to invest in the rural areas of developing countries where most of the world’s poorest and hungriest people live,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze. “We must work to create a transformation in our rural communities so they provide decent jobs, decent conditions and decent opportunities. We must invest in rural areas so that our nations can have balanced growth and so that the three billion people who live in rural areas can fulfill their potential.”
There have been challenges to fully achieving the 2015 food security targets, including extreme weather events, natural disasters and growing political instability. Per the report:
“24 African countries currently face food crises, twice as many as in 1990; around one of every five of the world’s undernourished lives in crisis environments characterized by weak governance and acute vulnerability to death and disease.
SOFI 2015 highlights a troubling trend in the changing nature of crises in the past thirty years, which have evolved from what the report terms “catastrophic, short-term, acute and highly visible events to protracted situations.” The report also notes that hunger rates in countries in the throes of protracted crises are more than three times higher than other countries surveyed. Nearly 20% of all food-insecure people in the world live in this kind of situation.
The SOFI report also provides recommendations to increase food security. Increasing agricultural productivity – especially among small and family farmers – not only reduces hunger but also poverty. Economic growth should be inclusive and broadly accessible The expansion of “social protection” is vital in reducing hunger is emphasized. Particular strategies are noted as being important, including cash transfers to vulnerable households, food vouchers, health insurance, school meal programs and “guaranteed procurement contracts with local farmers.”
In addition to the report, there is an interactive hunger map that provides country-by-country data.