State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Report | UPSC


‘One in three couldn’t afford food year-round in 2020’

      WHY IN NEWS:

Pandemic-induced poverty and rise in food prices keep healthy diet out of reach of three billion people




  • Under the COVID-19 scenario, about 30 million more people may face hunger in 2030 than if the pandemic had not occurred, revealing persistent effects of the pandemic on global food security.

Greater inequality in access to food is mostly responsible for the observed difference.

  • Globally, progress is being made for some forms of malnutrition, but the world is not on track to achieve targets for any of the nutrition indicators by 2030.
  • The report has quoted a study done in 63 low- and middle-income countries covering a population of 3.5 billion on changes in the income of people. It has extrapolated its impact on choice of diets.


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report has a grim reminder of this impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • This report presents the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020 and highlights the need for a deeper reflection on how to better address the global food security and nutrition situation.
  • World hunger increased in 2020 under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It is projected that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020.

  • New projections confirm that hunger will not be eradicated by 2030 unless bold actions are taken to accelerate progress, especially actions to address inequality in access to food.

State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Report | UPSC


  • All other things constant, around 660 million people may still face hunger in 2030 in part due to lasting effects of the pandemic on global food security – 30 million more people than in a scenario in which the pandemic had not occurred.
  • Nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year.

Close to 12 percent of the global population was severely food insecure in 2020, representing 928 million people – 148 million more than in 2019.

  • At the global level, the gender gap in the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity has grown even larger with the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity being 10 percent higher among women than men in 2020, compared to 6 percent in 2019.
  • The high cost of healthy diets coupled with persistent high levels of income inequality put healthy diets out of reach for around 3 billion people, especially the poor, in every region of the world in 2019.

State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Report | UPSC


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

  • 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.
  • In 2020 it is estimated that 22.0 percent (149.2 million) of children under 5 years of age were affected by stunting, 6.7 percent (45.4 million) were suffering from wasting and 5.7 percent (38.9 million) were overweight.
  • WHO estimates that poor diets are responsible for 22 per cent of all deaths among adults in the world.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • There are six possible recommended pathways through which food systems could be transformed to address the major drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Thus we can ensure access to affordable healthy diets for all, sustainably and inclusively.

These are:

  1. Integrating humanitarian, development and peace building policies in conflict-affected areas
  2. Scaling up climate resilience across food systems
  3. Strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity
  4. Intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods
  5. Tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive
  6. Strengthening food environments and changing consumer behaviour to promote dietary patterns with positive impacts on human health and the environment.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Report | UPSC

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