Developing strategies to end hunger

USDA Makes Twenty-Year Assessment of Global Food Security

Since 1970, the USDA has published a yearly report forecasting the state of the world’s food insecurity in the coming years.  Using a combination of food consumption and food price data, the USDA looked at 76 of the world’s poorest countries to predict food insecurity for the next 20 years.  ERS In the recently released 2013 report, the predictions are that the growth rate of the global hungry population will surpass the overall population growth rate. In other words, the percentage of people in the world without enough food will increase.

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the most food insecure region in the world, and has the lowest per capita food consumption. Based on its current analysis, USDA predicts this is not going to change. In fact, the distribution gap—the amount of additional food needed to bring all people into food security—is predicted to grow significantly larger in this region.

Asia is home to more undernourished people than any other region in the world. Almost 57% of the world’s population with chronic food insecurity lives in an Asian country, and the USDA predicts that this will continue to be the case in the coming twenty years.

A promising sign, however, is less hunger in the Latin America and Caribbean region, where the number of food-insecure people is projected to decline by nearly 7 percent in the next decade.

All of the report’s predictions are based on projected food prices. With changes in weather patterns, energy prices and political actions, the price of food has been known to fluctuate greatly. A price spike could mean millions more people go hungry than expected, and stable or lower prices could boost a poor country’s ability to feed itself.

The overall negative tone of the USDA’s report can serve both as an early warning and motivation for changes in policies and programs that build local capacities and resilience to withstand inevitable swings in food prices.

Katy Merckel


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