2022 too short, too far: How food systems evolved for the hungry

Down To Earth recaps the primary environment, health and developmental news from 2022

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 27 December 2022
2022 too short, too far: How food systems evolved for the world's hungry
Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

Hunger has taken a grisly shape in several corners of the world this year, so much so that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) called 2022 ‘the year of unprecedented hunger’.

Food security shot past pre-pandemic levels, especially in war-torn places and those wrecked by climate disasters. The number of people facing acute food insecurity has almost tripled since 2019 and as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night, according to WFP.

Systemic policy changes and global concerted efforts are necessary to alleviate the condition of these people and meet the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goal of ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030.

Here’s a selection of Down To Earth’s articles on global food systems and the changes necessary:

The world was “tremendously off track” to meet the sustainable development goals (SDG), including agrifood targets, a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization December 2, 2022 showed.

Read more: World won’t be able to feed itself without wider systemic change, says FAO

In absolute terms, India has the maximum number of people unable to afford a healthy diet. But, more than 95 per cent of the population in several African countries — including Burundi, Madagascar, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria and the Central African Republic — cannot afford a healthy diet.

Read more: Hungry nation: 70% Indians cannot afford healthy diet

India ranked an abysmal 107 out of 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022. The government has accused GHI of tainting the country’s image and spreading misinformation — nearly duplicating its argument when the GHI 2021 was released.

Read more: How is the Global Hunger Index ranking calculated? 

As much as the COVID-19 pandemic caught us by surprise, unprepared and fumbling for paths forward, we have even less of an idea of how to live in a world without, say, an abundance of insects, according to the Human Development Report (HDR) 2021-22 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) September 8, 2022.

“That has not been tried for about 500 million years, when the world’s first land plants appeared.”

Read more: People do not know how to survive without insects: Human Development Report 2022 

The latest ranking of Indian states in the State Food Security Index brought out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in June this year showed that Tamil Nadu scored the highest among major states on all indicators. Here’s how the rest of the states fared:

Read more: Tamil Nadu leads Food Safety Index 2022, Andhra Pradesh lags behind

Reliance on old Census data and targetism has kept nearly 12 per cent of India’s population from its most important tool to combat food insecurity.

Read more: Over 90 million excluded from PDS entitlement: Report 

Poor financial conditions, move to cultivation of crops perceived to be more profitable, dependence on a public distribution system that failed to assimilate the traditional food habits and even faith has led to a noticeable shift in the diet of Madhya Pradesh’s tribal communities.

Read more: No meat, more wheat: How tribal diets are changing in Madhya Pradesh

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.