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State of Food Security Report: Global Hunger Increased to 828 Million in 2021

According to the United Nations 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI)", the 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.
The number of people affected by hunger globally rose to 828 million in 2021. This is an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the United Nations 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI)", the 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.

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. 

The report was jointly published on Wednesday by the Food and Agriculture Organization 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 Organization (WHO).

Figures in the report highlight that 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 percent of the world population. This compares with 8 percent in 2019 and 9.3 percent in 2020.

Regarding whether people are taking healthy diets, the report shows 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.

But, it shows progress is being made on exclusive breastfeeding, with nearly 44 percent of infants under six months of age being exclusively breastfed worldwide in 2020. This is still short of the 50 percent target by 2030.

"Of great concern, two in three children are not fed the minimum diverse diet they need to grow and develop to their full potential.     Looking forward, projections are that nearly 670 million people (8 percent of the world population) will still be facing hunger in 2030 – even if a global economic recovery is taken into consideration", reads part of the statement shared along with the report.

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, the statement adds. 

However, as the report is being published, the ongoing war in Ukraine, involving two of the biggest global producers of staple cereals, oilseeds and fertilizer, is disrupting international supply chains and pushing up the prices of grain, fertilizer, energy, as well as ready-to-use therapeutic food for children with severe malnutrition. This comes as supply chains are already being adversely affected by increasingly frequent extreme climate events, especially in low-income countries, and has potentially sobering implications for global food security and nutrition. 

Evidence suggests that if governments repossess the resources they are using to incentivize the production, supply and consumption of nutritious foods, they will contribute to making healthy diets less costly, more affordable and equitably for all.

The report also points out that governments could do more to reduce trade barriers for nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables and pulses.  

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