Last week, the UN revealed its State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report. It revealed between 691 and 793 million people faced hunger in 2022, an increase of 122 million since 2019 due to the pandemic and climate emergency.
It serves as a wake-up call about the urgency of the global fight against hunger. While hunger numbers slowed down between 2021 and 2022, food crises are deepening in certain parts of the world. Africa is the worst affected region, with hunger rising in parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Food security has deteriorated further, with approximately 29.6 percent of the global population, equivalent to 2.4 billion people, not having constant access to food. Within this group, 900 million faced severe food insecurity.
Urbanisation is also driving key changes in agriculture, with almost seven in ten people projected to live in cities by 2050. This trend has been consistently documented across eleven countries. People in rural areas face increased levels of food insecurity, and urban counterparts are more likely to consume highly processed food.
This is an important moment for businesses, communities and activist groups to call for increased investment in new technologies and policies that deliver healthier, more sustainable food sources and supply chains. Regenerative agriculture has taught us a lot about the importance of sustainable, lower intervention agricultural methods that sustain rural communities long term. Promoting these solutions is critical to addressing disparities between urban and rural areas – in particular safeguarding children’s health.
Collaboration is also key. Closer bonds need to be formed between drivers of innovation, farmers, and consumers to improve and future-proof crop production, and efforts need to be taken to localise production and improve food availability amongst vulnerable populations. We must educate people about the variety of choice available to them. Currently, there are 14,000 plant species available for consumption, but on average we consume about 30. Our diets have become too homogenous, and this is jeopardising supply chains around the world.
Businesses working in food production, innovation and technology have a responsibility to explore solutions to the crisis we face. Agricultural interventions provide cost-effective ways to respond to food insecurity, and beyond this the industry should communicate boldly, and honestly in the mainstream media to raise awareness and garner support from important global stakeholders.
Now is the time to be vocal about the state of global hunger and what can be done to be protect people and supply chains. Your voice can influence real change and create better lives for vulnerable communities – whether directly or indirectly. The power of communications in this climate is not to be underestimated.