The report demonstrates the need for a greater prioritisation of smallholder agriculture as a frontline humanitarian response, according to FAO
Some 40 million more people globally experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021 than 2020, according to a new report released May 4, 2022.
Of these, over half a million people (570,000) in Ethiopia, southern Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen were classified in the most severe phase of acute food insecurity.
Urgent action is required to avert widespread collapse of livelihoods, starvation and death for these half a million, according to the report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC).
The GNAFC is an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together.
The document showed that around 193 million people in 53 countries or territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021.
When looking at the same 39 countries or territories featured in all editions of the report, the number of people facing crisis or worse nearly doubled between 2016 and 2021, with unabated rises each year since 2018.
There were three main drivers for the food insecurity according to the report. The first was conflict.
The report was written prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine February 24, 2022. But it found that conflict forced 139 million people in 24 countries / territories into acute food insecurity. This is an increase from 99 million in 23 countries / territories in 2020.
Another cause was weather extremes, which forced over 23 million people in eight countries / territories into acute food insecurity, up from 15.7 million in 15 countries / territories in 2020.
A third cause was economic shocks. Over 30 million people in 21 countries / territories suffered acute food insecurity in 2021 due to economic shocks, down from over 40 million people in 17 countries / territories in 2020.
“The tragic link between conflict and food insecurity is once again evident and alarming,” said UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General QU Dongyu was quoted as saying in a statement by the UN body.
“The results of this year’s Global Report further demonstrate the need to collectively address acute food insecurity at the global level across humanitarian, development and peace contexts,” he added.
The report demonstrated the need for a greater prioritisation of smallholder agriculture as a frontline humanitarian response, to overcome access constraints and as a solution for reverting negative long-term trends, the statement said.
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