"Everyone must have access to healthy diets, but updated estimates suggest they are unaffordable for almost 3.1 billion people around the world."
Every year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) releases their comprehensive study of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World – or the SOFI for short. It helps explain the global reasons for family food insecurity around the world. It’s clear from the report that these factors are affecting families everywhere, just in different ways. To read the report, visit the UN’s site.
We took a look at the report and pulled out important food security facts that are affecting the families we work with. As dedicated supporters, we wanted to share these with you.
Even more people are going hungry than before
- Up to 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021 - that’s 22 times the population of Canada, and 150 million more than in 2019, before the pandemic.
- In the last year, moderate or severe food insecurity increased the most in Africa, and also continued to worsen in Latin America, although at a slower pace compared to the year before. This affects CFTC supported areas in Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Bolivia.
- Women continue to be more food insecure than men. 31.9% of women in the world are moderately or severely food insecure compared to 27.6% of men, especially in Latin American and Asian countries.
- While Canada has a comparatively low rate of food insecurity, it's important to note that it continues to rise across the country, and that 48% of First Nations households report having difficulty putting food on the table.
Healthy food is much more expensive
- The effects of inflation in consumer food prices have increased the costs and the unaffordability of a healthy diet around the world. The cost of a healthy diet will likely continue to rise in the near future.
- Healthy diets are also more unaffordable because people are earning less money, and their income does not stretch as far as before.
- Many countries subsidize a few staple agricultural crops, which is making it harder for people to afford fruit and vegetables to diversify their diets.
- While the report only pertains to 2021, it does reference that the current global supply chain issues caused by the war in Ukraine has made healthy food even more unaffordable.
What should we do about it?
The report shares some recommendations on how leaders can respond. Here are a few that Canadian Feed The Children is already working on.
Promoting the production of nutritious foods to make a healthy diet less costly and more affordable. Across all our programming, we focus on increasing access to fruits and vegetables through gardening at various levels – home, school and community – as well as through larger projects like Food Forests.
- Shift to lower emission, sustainable farming that does not harm the environment. Our large-scale agricultural projects like SHINE and CLIMATE focus on climate-smart agriculture, not only to reduce the impact of climate change farming challenges on families, but also to create more sustainable food systems for everyone.
- Increase agricultural transformation to increase incomes, resilience and the availability of nutritious foods. Initiatives like the Slaight Livelihood and Gender Equality project, Food Forests, SHINE and CLIMATE, as well as all of our agribusiness programming around the world, are helping families increase all of the above.
Other ways to support
Here’s how individuals can help support change for the world’s most food insecure people.
- Check out the FAO's interactive digital story: A tale of empty plates. It helps you compare levels of hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity between countries and regions.
- Learn how you can help change agricultural policies by advocating to your municipal, provincial or federal representatives.
- Continue your support for organizations like CFTC who are working to reduce hunger for people around the world.
There's still a long way to go
While people around the world are coming together to address this global crisis, it's clear from this report that we have a long way to go. The FAO warnings are grim:
"The intensification of the major drivers behind recent food insecurity and malnutrition trends (i.e. conflict, climate extremes and economic shocks) combined with the high cost of nutritious foods and growing inequalities will continue to challenge food security and nutrition. This will be the case until agrifood systems are transformed, become more resilient and are delivering lower cost nutritious foods and affordable healthy diets for all, sustainably and inclusively." - 2022 SOFI Report
This is why we are grateful for the ongoing support of our donors. Because of their dedication, CFTC can continue to provide programming that addresses many of these food security challenges. Families need our support more than ever - thank you to all our donors for continuing to show your solidarity with your gifts.