3bn may not afford healthy diets by 2030 – FAO

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report has revealed that for the high cost of healthy diets coupled with persistent high levels of income inequality, healthy diets may be put out of reach for around 3 billion people, especially the poor, in every region of the world in 2019.
This is even as the report also calls for transformation of food system with the integration of humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict affected areas.

The report said the number is slightly less than in 2017 and will likely increase in most regions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And compared with 2019, 46 million more people in Africa, almost 57 million more in Asia, and about 14 million more in Latin America and the Caribbean were affected by hunger in 2020.

It revealed that around 660 million people may still face hunger in 2030, in part due to lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global food security, 30 million more people than in a scenario in which the pandemic had not occurred.

While the global prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity has been slowly on the rise since 2014, the estimated increase in 2020 was equal to that of the previous five years combined.

Nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – that’s an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year.

“To drive that number home, in 2030, the number of people facing hunger may be close to double the current population of the United States or triple that of Brazil.

“Shifting to healthy diets that include sustainability considerations can contribute to reducing health and climate change costs by 2030, because the hidden costs of these diets are lower compared with those of current consumption patterns.

“Unless bold actions are taken to accelerate progress, especially actions to address major drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition and the inequalities affecting the access of millions to food, hunger will not be eradicated by 2030.

“When transformed with greater resilience to major drivers, including conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns, food systems can provide affordable healthy diets that are sustainable and inclusive, and become a powerful driving force towards

ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, for all.

It further call for scaling up of climate resilience across food systems, strengthening resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity, intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods; and tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive while food environments and changing consumer behaviour to promote dietary patterns with positive impacts on human health and the environment should be strengthened.

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