Hunger Hotspots Report : FAO-WFP | 03 Aug 2021

Why in News

Recently, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) released a report named Hunger Hotspots - August to November 2021.

  • The 2021 Global Food Crises Report released in May 2021 had already warned of acute food insecurity, soaring to a five-year high, pushing at least 155 million people into acute food insecurity in 2020.

Key Points

  • Major Hunger Hotspots:
    • Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan, northern Nigeria and Yemen are among 23 countries where acute food insecurity will worsen from August through November, 2021.
    • Ethiopia and Madagascar are the world's newest "highest alert" hunger hotspots.
      • Ethiopia faces a devastating food emergency linked to ongoing conflict in the Tigray region.
      • Meanwhile, in southern Madagascar the worst drought in 40 years is expected to push 28,000 people into famine-like conditions by the end of 2021.
  • Factors causing food insecurity:
    • Violence:
      • Population displacement, abandonment of agricultural land, loss of life and assets, disruption of trade and cropping and loss of access to markets caused by conflicts can worsen food insecurity.
        • Violence is predicted to intensify in Afghanistan, Central Sahel, the Central African Republic etc.
      • Violence is also likely to disrupt access to humanitarian assistance.
    • Pandemic Shocks:
      • In 2020, almost all low- and middle-income countries were affected by the Pandemic-induced economic downturns.
    • Natural Hazards:
      • Extreme weather conditions and climate variability are likely to affect several parts of the world during the outlook period.
      • In Haiti, for instance, reduced precipitation during the main growing season ended May is likely to have impacted yield. Continued below-average rainfall, on the hand, is likely to reduce yield during the main rice-growing season.
      • Desert Locust infestation was a major worry in the Horn of Africa at the beginning of July 2021, while other regions were unaffected.
    • Poor humanitarian access:
      • Humanitarian access is limited in various ways, including administrative/bureaucratic impediments, movement restrictions, security constraints and physical constraints related to the environment.
      • Countries currently facing the most significant obstacles, preventing aid from reaching those who need it most are Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic etc.
  • Suggestions:
    • Short-term Interventions:
      • Short-term protective interventions be implemented before new humanitarian needs materialise and immediate actions are to be taken for addressing existing humanitarian requirements.
    • Integration of policies:
      • Integrate humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict areas – for example, through social protection measures to prevent families from selling meagre assets in exchange for food.
    • Climate Resilience:
      • Scale-up climate resilience across food systems by offering smallholder farmers wide access to climate risk insurance and forecast-based financing.
    • Strengthen Resilience:
      • Strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity through in-kind or cash support programmes to lessen the impact of pandemic-style shocks or food price volatility.

India’s Step in Ensuring Food Security

  • National Food Security Mission:
    • It aims to increase production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops, through area expansion and productivity enhancement.
  • PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY):
  • One Nation One Ration Card:
    • It will address the poor state of hunger in India, as highlighted by the Global Hunger Index, where India has been ranked 102 out of 117 countries
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi:
    • It intends to supplement the financial needs of the Small and Marginal Farmers (SMFs) in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income at the end of each crop cycle.
  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013:
    • It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
      • The eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above is mandated to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing ration cards under the Act.

Food and Agriculture Organization

  • FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16th October to mark the anniversary of the founding of the FAO in 1945.
  • It is one of the UN food aid organisations based in Rome (Italy). Its sister bodies are the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

World Food Programme

  • It is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
  • It was founded in 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
  • WFP focuses on emergency assistance as well as rehabilitation and development aid.
    • Two-thirds of its work is in conflict-affected countries, where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than elsewhere.

Source: DTE