Acute food insecurity is increasing due to conflict, extreme weather events and rising food prices
Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking USD 1.9 billion by 2023 to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of some of the people most severely affected by acute food insecurity, as This continues to increase throughout the planet.
The announcement was made as part of a broader United Nations humanitarian aid appeal launched by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at a special event in Geneva, Switzerland today.
With less than 4% of the USD 51.5 billion requested in all aid requests by 2023, FAO can provide urgent livelihood assistance to ensure that 48 million people have a stable supply of nutritious food . Through cash, seed packets for crops and vegetables, livestock feed, animal health campaigns and improvements to essential infrastructure such as irrigation systems and markets, FAO can ensure that families and communities in the most remote and disaster-affected areas conflicts can feed and lay the foundations for resilience to future shocks.
In 2022, FAO's emergency support to drought-affected communities in the Horn of Africa has protected vital livestock assets, ensuring that 4.4 million children can access milk every day, and has facilitated the production of more than 100,000 tons of cereals and provided more than 1.5 million people with cash to buy food, health care and other essential services.
FAO interventions focus above all on meeting the needs and priorities of the affected communities, who are mostly farmers, fishermen, herders and foresters, allowing them to remain in their homes, when it is safe to do so, to meet their own needs. and direct your own recovery in the future.
Main drivers of acute food insecurity
Extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the proliferation of other conflicts, followed by growing uncertainty around global food and agricultural markets, are driving acute food insecurity to new highs. As 2022 draws to a close, almost one million people face the immediate threat of starvation, or almost twice as many as in 2021. Globally, 222 million people are experiencing elevated levels of acute food insecurity and nearly one in five of them have difficulties accessing enough food on a daily basis.
In the Horn of Africa alone, which is facing unprecedented drought—an intensity not seen for 40 years—an estimated 23-26 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and acute food insecurity is projected to continue to intensify by February 2023 due to a sixth consecutive season of unprecedented and anticipated dryness.
The cost of food has been rising steadily since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and international food prices were already at 10-year highs before the war in Ukraine further affect the system. Although the prices of international staple foods have fallen recently, consumer prices remain high, which has a significant impact on the purchasing power and access to food of the poorest population.
Conflict and political instability continue to devastate lives and livelihoods around the world, forcing people to leave their homes and abandon their farms, boats and livestock, pushing them into destitution and complete dependence on external assistance.
FAO boosts its response to crises and emergencies
FAO has intensified its efforts to reach those most in need throughout 2022, helping 30 million people with urgent support, focusing on rural populations and those who depend on agriculture for survival.
In Afghanistan alone , where around half of the rural population suffers from high levels of acute food insecurity, FAO expects to reach 9 million people by the end of the year. Some 3.6 million people will benefit from the ongoing winter wheat distribution, which will be completed in December.
In Somalia , more than USD 24 million in cash, plus livelihood assistance, has been provided to rural communities most at risk of famine, while providing feed, water and basic sanitation to more of 11 million head of cattle.
In Ukraine , in addition to offering emergency agricultural support to farmers such as vegetable seeds, seed potatoes and cash aid, FAO is intensifying efforts to safeguard current and future crops and food reserves. FAO has provided a huge storage capacity of up to 6 million tonnes of cereals (around 30% of the country's needs). This assistance is essential to ensure adequate storage of grains so that farmers can sell and export them when appropriate.
Agriculture in emergencies continues to experience severe funding shortfalls
Agriculture is a frontline humanitarian response and should be considered as such in all requests for humanitarian aid. Urgent agricultural interventions, especially when combined with food and cash assistance, have huge impacts on food availability, nutrition and movement, thus significantly reducing other humanitarian costs.
For example, at a cost of just US$220, the packages of winter wheat being distributed in Afghanistan will allow a family to produce enough food to meet their annual grain needs and keep a surplus to sell.
In 2022, FAO received only 43 percent of the funds requested in humanitarian response plans, leading to a huge funding imbalance. For example, requests for Afghanistan have been completed, while those for Nigeria and the Syrian Arab Republic have barely exceeded 10% of requirements.
Today's event in Geneva was one of three consecutive events to launch the Global Humanitarian Outlook (2023) report, followed by events in Addis Ababa in collaboration with the African Union and in Riyadh in collaboration with the Center for Humanitarian Aid and King Salman Relief (KSRelief).
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations