Nov 2, 2023

A Look at The Global State of Food Security and Nutrition in 2021

Global Food Security cover image

For the world at large, 2020 was a devastating year. And we have barely begun to understand all the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. But one thing is clear so far: global food security has been strongly impacted by the outbreak.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO is the first evidence-based assessment of chronic food insecurity around the globe that documents how food security was impacted as the pandemic emerged and spread around the world.

The report provides valuable insights into the future of global food security and includes dedicated chapters to:

So, what are some of the key findings in this latest report?

5 key findings in the 2021 report

World hunger increased in 2020

For the past five years, the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) was virtually unchanged at 8.4%. In 2020, however, PoU has increased to 9.9%. This makes it more challenging to achieve the UN's Zero Hunger target by 2030.

Malnutrition remains a challenge

Although data is limited regarding the total impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on malnutrition, 22% (149.2 million) of children under the age of 5 were affected by stunting, 6.7% (45.4 million) were suffering from wasting, and 5.7% (38.9 million) were affected by overweight in 2020.

Zero Hunger by 2030 might not happen

Bold actions are required to accelerate progress and eradicate hunger by 2030. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inequality in access to food are worsening the challenges that already existed prior to the crisis, including conflict, climate variability and extremes, economic slowdowns and downturns, unaffordability of healthy diets, and poverty.

Lasting effects on global food security

In 2020, more than 760 million people suffered from hunger, and projections suggest that global hunger will decline slowly to fewer than 660 million in 2030. That's 30 million more people than previously projected before the pandemic.

Unaffordable healthy diets

The cost of nutritious foods is increased by drivers such as climate shocks, inefficient food supplies, and low productivity. People with low incomes find it close to impossible to invest in and maintain a healthy diet.

Solutions for food security

The 2021 report proposes a number of solutions for ending global food insecurity, including maintaining conflict-sensitive food systems functions, innovative mechanisms to reduce climate-related risks, operational food supply chains, and more.

Likewise, food systems with greater resilience to major food insecurity drivers can provide sustainable, inclusive, and affordable healthy diets to address food insecurity, end global hunger, and eliminate malnutrition.

Environmentally sound food production techniques can also help conserve and rehabilitate natural environments for more resilient food production in the face of extreme weather conditions.

Another important consideration is investing in agri-food systems for more efficient and sustainable food production to ultimately shift dietary patterns to the benefit of human health and the environment.

Final thoughts

It's clear from the 2021 report that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted global food security at a fundamental level. Efforts have to be made to innovate further and address the unmet need for environmentally sustainable solutions to end world hunger and malnutrition.

At Yield10, our commitment to global food security empowers us to continue our work with Camelina and transform its potential into tangible solutions such as nutritional oils for human consumption rich in omega-3 fatty acids, performance traits that can increase the yield per acre of major food crops, and land-based protein meal. It will be difficult to end world hunger by 2030, but we are doing our part to accelerate progress and contribute to food security around the world.

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