On October 1, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), released the 2013 State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) . The newest report covers food insecurity data from 2011-2013, replacing prior statistics on malnutrition and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) progress that dated to 2010-2012.
Notable in this year’s SOFI report is an emphasis on the diverse dimensions of food insecurity. Rather than simply reporting food deprivation, the 2013 SOFI presents and analyzes a series of indicators that describe the four major elements of food insecurity: food availability, economic and physical access to food, and food utilization and stability over time. This approach presents a more holistic and comprehensive description of global food insecurity, allowing for better analysis of the many dimensions that can account for dietary energy deprivation.
The newest report has a number of takeaways. Some of these key messages are listed below:
- A total of 842 million people in 2011–13, or around one in eight people in the world, were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life. This figure is lower than the 868 million reported with reference to 2010–12. The total number of undernourished has fallen by 17 percent since 1990–92.
- Developing regions as a whole have registered significant progress towards the MDG 1 hunger target. If the average annual decline of the past 21 years continues to 2015, the prevalence of undernourishment will reach a level close to the target. Meeting it would require considerable and immediate additional efforts.
- Growth can raise incomes and reduce hunger, but higher economic growth may not reach everyone. It may not lead to more and better jobs for all, unless policies specifically target the poor, especially those in rural areas. In poor countries, hunger and poverty reduction will only be achieved with growth that is not only sustained, but also broadly shared.
- Despite overall progress, marked differences across regions persist. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, with modest progress in recent years. Western Asia shows no progress, while Southern Asia and Northern Africa show slow progress. Significant reductions in both the estimated number and prevalence of undernourishment have occurred in most countries of Eastern and South Eastern Asia, as well as in Latin America.
If you are interested in learning more about the 2013 SOFI, the publication is available for download here.