More than 780 million people are going hungry while nearly one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted. More than three billion cannot afford healthy diets.
This is according to the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
Developing countries are struggling to invest in food systems that can reach all people with the nutrition they need to live healthy lives.
Two billion people all over the world are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight and without access to financing and debt relief.
The Secretary General said this while delivering a speech at the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment on Monday in Rome, Italy.
“Meanwhile, unsustainable food production, packaging and consumption are feeding the climate crisis, generating one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, using 70% of the world’s freshwater, and driving biodiversity loss on an epic scale. Many communities are one shock away from plummeting into food insecurity or even famine,” Guterressaid.
Situation has grown worse with the Russian Federation’s termination of the Black Sea Initiative that enabled the safe export of more than 32 million metric tons of food on more than 1,000 vessels from Ukrainian ports.
The Initiative, together with the UN`s Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation to facilitate Russian food and fertiliser exports, have been lifelines for global food security and global food price stability.
According to the UN chief,food prices dropped by 23% from their highs last year. With the termination of the Black Sea Initiative, the most vulnerable will pay the highest price.
“We are already seeing the negative effect on global wheat and corn prices which hurts everyone. But this is especially devastating for vulnerable countries struggling to feed their people. As food prices rise, the hopes of developing countries fall.”
The Russian Federation and Ukraine are both essential to global food security. They have historically accounted for roughly 30% of global wheat and barley exports, a fifth of all maize, and more than half of all sunflower oil.
Furthermore, Guterres mentioned that he remains committed to facilitating the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilisers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and to deliver the food security that every person deserves.
He has further called on the Russian Federation to return to the full implementation of the Black Sea Initiative, in line with his latest proposal. “And I urge the global community to support our efforts, and stand united for immediate solutions in this essential effort,”Guterres stated.
He said it is no surprise that chronic hunger is increasing in those regions with the weakest and most underfunded food systems, such as western Asia, the Caribbean, and across all regions in Africa.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition Report released two weeks ago also found that one in five people in Africa is going hungry, more than twice the global average.
“Starving food systems of investment means, quite literally, starving people. I urge governments to respond to our call for an SDG Stimulus to scale up affordable long-term financing for all countries in need, by at least 500 billion dollars a year,” he expressed.
This will help countries make meaningful progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 to achieve zero hunger, and build systems that can ensure people have access to affordable, nutritious food wherever they live.
RinaaniMusutua of the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition said it’s a sad situation seeing that Africa remains the poorest continent.
According to her, the UN Secretary General’s revelation is proof of the hunger crisis that has befallen Africa at a high rate.
“From a Namibian perspective, first of all I don’t know what is really stopping us from producing our own food. I don’t understand why we have to depend on imported food,” she explained.
She further highlighted that Namibia has fertile land, especially in the northern regions, specifically the Zambezi region. Adding that Namibia has excess to water, making it possible for Namibia to have a well developed agriculture sector.
She further mentioned that the country has the Neckartal Dam that could benefit the country in terms of supplying water for agricultural purposes in the south.
“I don’t understand where the problem is, but I think it has to do with leadership and with people in our society not playing the role that they are supposed to play,” she said.