If we do not redouble and better target our efforts, our goal of ending hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 will remain out of reach.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World - or SOFI for short - is an annual report prepared by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and a number of United Nations organizations.
The report monitors the progress we're making in the fight against global hunger and looks at the challenges that still threaten food security for families around the world.
This year's report shows that while global hunger isn't rising at the alarming rate it was during the pandemic, no progress was made in the fight against hunger and we are still far above pre-pandemic levels. In fact, 122 million more people faced hunger in 2022 than before the pandemic.
Our team has reviewed the report and highlighted the key facts and messages for you below to give you an understanding of the state of food security in the communities we partner with around the world. You can read the full report here.
SOFI Report Highlights
- About 2.4 billion people are moderately or severely food insecure. This represents nearly a third of the global population and 391 million more than before the pandemic.
- According to projections, nearly 600 million people will be chronically undernourished in 2030. The largest increase in hunger is expected to come from Africa. This affects CFTC-supported areas in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda.
- Africa faces more food insecurity than other regions of the world, with nearly one in four people facing hunger. Over 60% of people face moderate to severe food insecurity.
- With the pandemic affecting family incomes, over 3.1 billion people could not afford a healthy diet. Some of the regions facing the highest food prices include Ethiopia and Ghana.
- Women face more food insecurity than men in every region of the world. This gender gap has widened in Africa and North America.
WHAT IS MODERATE OR SEVERE FOOD INSECURITY?
People experience moderate food insecurity if they are uncertain about their ability to access food and have to limit the quantity and/or quality of the food they eat to get by.
People experience severe food insecurity if they run out of food at any time during the year or go an entire day or more without eating.
What are the challenges?
- Uneven pandemic recovery means that disadvantaged communities are still struggling with livelihood and income losses. Food inflation is also higher in some communities. Indigenous communities in Canada, for example, have food prices that are 2.5 times higher than national averages and therefore experience higher rates of food insecurity. In fact, 52% of Indigenous households with children experience food insecurity, compared to only 9% of non-Indigenous households.
- The war in Ukraine caused uncertainty in global food markets and supply chains, resulting in a surge in food prices. Countries that are dependent on imports for food like Ghana, Uganda, and Bolivia bore the brunt of this shock. The war also caused a spike in fertilizer prices, which impacts farming communities.
- Weather-related shocks like unpredictable rainfall, extended droughts, and storms have disrupted crop production, affecting livelihoods and limiting the amount of healthy food available to families. The Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, for example, is facing its worst drought in decades, putting millions at risk of food insecurity.
What should we do about it?
Nutrition Education: While many urban populations have access to nutrition education, people in rural settings do not. By giving rural communities these same opportunities, families can take control of their own health, enjoy more variety in their meals, and consider more options for healthy food production.
Improve women's status and gender equality: Women across the globe face barriers like limited access to farming tools, loans, and education. By allevating these structural and systemic inequalities, women can play a greater role in improving their families' access to affordable foods.
Support smallholder farmers. With urbanization reshaping the agrifood system, rural communities are at greater risk of being unable to access affordable healthy food and farming inputs and technology. Smallholder farmers produce about a third of the world's food supply, but they need support to overcome the challenges posed by climate change, economic instability, and conflict that threaten their livelihoods.
CFTC holds nutrition and gastronomy workshops around the world to teach parents and children about important nutrients and healthy cooking. In Bolivia, CFTC is partnering with the Ministry of Education to provide students with gastronomy training using family and community gardens. In Birch Narrows Dene Nation, land-based education programs are helping Indigenous communities to learn about food use, nutrition, traditional food preparation, and cooking.
CFTC is taking a gender-responsive approach to improving food security by providing women's livelihood programs. These include women's income and savings groups, skills training, agricultural support services, business incubation hubs, and gender equality training for both men and women. The Slaight Gender Equality Fund is also improving women's and girls' rights to reduce risky migration and improve their economic opportunities.
CFTC's SHINE and CLIMATE projects are helping smallholder farmers increase food production with climate-resilient practices and access to land, credit, and market linkages. Farmers were taught how to access seasonal weather data to improve crop yields, trained on efficient planting and pest control, given access to community extension services, and provided with water collection systems so they can participate in more dry-season farming.
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: Putting a number on hunger. It helps you understand the FAO's methodology and compare hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity levels 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.
The beginning of a turnaround
While the data on food insecurity around the world is disappointing, the FAO is optimistic about our collective ability to start making progress in the fight against global hunger.
"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a vision of a healthier, more just and equal world – a world without poverty, hunger and malnutrition. While these goals may seem out of reach, the lack of an increase in hunger may signal the beginning of a turnaround, and any improvement in the nutrition of children bodes well for the future. Achieving food security and nutrition goals is not only good for those suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition, it is good for everyone. A healthier, more just and equal world is better for all." - 2023 SOFI Report
We at CFTC are similarly hopeful for a more prosperous future thanks to the ongoing support of our compassionate and dedicated donors. With their partnership, we are able to provide programming that feeds and nourishes while addressing the root causes of food insecurity for children, their families, and their communities. Thank you to all of our donors for your generosity - together, we can create a healthier future for all.
In our podcast First Comes Food, we go on a journey through Indigenous food forests in Saskatchewan, farming communities in African countries and early childhood community programs in Bolivia to meet the people who are growing food security for everyone. Their stories may surprise you.
Listen to First Comes Food, now streaming on our website and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.