150 million more people affected by hunger since pandemic – new UN report

The United Nations has highlighted the glaring impact of COVID-19 on hunger, showing that 150 million more people are affected since the pandemic.
The 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report presents updates on the food security and nutrition situation around the world, including the latest estimates of the cost and affordability of a healthy diet.
It was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It stated that the number of people affected by hunger globally rose to as many as 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This data provides evidence that the world is moving further away from its goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.  The report also looks at ways in which governments can repurpose their current support to agriculture to reduce the cost of healthy diets, mindful of the limited public resources available in many parts of the world.
Statistics show that as many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021 – 46 million people more from a year earlier and 150 million more from 2019.
After remaining relatively unchanged since 2015, the proportion of people affected by hunger jumped in 2020 and continued to rise in 2021, to 9.8 per cent of the world population. This compares with eight per cent in 2019 and 9.3 per cent in 2020.
Around 2.3 billion people in the world (29.3 per cent) were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021 – 350 million more compared to before the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic. Nearly 924 million people (11.7 per cent of the global population) faced food insecurity at severe levels, an increase of 207 million in two years.
The gender gap in food insecurity continued to rise in 2021 – 31.9 per cent of women in the world were moderately or severely food insecure, compared to 27.6 per cent of men.
Almost 3.1 billion people could not afford a healthy diet in 2020, up 112 million from 2019, reflecting the effects of inflation in consumer food prices stemming from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to contain it.
Furthermore, 149 million children under the age of five had stunted growth and development due to a chronic lack of essential nutrients in their diets, while 39 million were overweight.
Looking forward, projections are that nearly 670 million people (eight per cent of the world population) will still be facing hunger in 2030 – even if a global economic recovery is taken into consideration. This is a similar number to 2015, when the goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition by the end of this decade was launched under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Guyana has already been proactive at the national and regional levels in efforts to achieve food security. The country also committed this year to do the same on the international field to curb the ongoing food crisis around the world.
President Dr Irfaan Ali, who is the lead Head of Government responsible for Agriculture and Agriculture Diversification and Food Security, is currently advancing Caricom’s strategy on the Agri-Food Systems Agenda: Prioritising Regional Food and Nutrition Security. The agenda aims to commercialise the agri-food sector, boost food supplies, and enhance food and nutrition security in the region; and reduce the food imports by 25 per cent by 2025. (G12)