The indicators of development in the world have consistently improved over the past 25 years; globally, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has decreased from 37.1 percent in 1990 to 12.7 percent in 2012. Despite this, multiple indicators remain alarmingly high, for instance, the percentage of child malnutrition/stunting currently stands at 23.8 percent.
Since 2010, USAID’s Feed the Future program has aimed to reduce hunger and poverty by improving developing countries’ agricultural sectors. In July of this year, the program received renewed long-term support under the US’s new Global Food Security Act. The Act is designed to promote food security, resilience, and improved nutrition through investments in smallholder agriculture in developing countries. It also codified Feed the Future, making it a permanent program.
Pulses are an essential source of protein and minerals for much of the global population, to reflect this the UN has named 2016 as the ‘’International Year of Pulses.’ However, despite increasing demand, global pulse productivity remains low at around a quarter of global cereal yields per hectare, according to IFPRI.
The USDA’s monthly report on World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) was released on July 14.
The 2015 Global Hunger Index reports that despite progress in reducing hunger worldwide, hunger levels in 52 of 117 countries remain “serious” or “alarming.” The FAO’s 2015 State of Food Insecurity report estimates that 795 million people are undernourished, with uneven levels of undernourishment across countries. Simultaneously, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.9 billion adults are overweight.
The FAO’s monthly report on food price trends was released on July 11. The bulletin reports on recent food price developments at the global, regional, and country levels, with a focus on developing countries and provides early warnings for high country-level food prices that may negatively affect food security.
The World Bank recently released the Africa Climate Business Plan, which aims to raise awareness of and accelerate resource mobilization for prioritized climate adaptation and low-carbon initiatives in Africa. Climate-related factors are involved in most of the shocks that keep or push African households into poverty; these include natural disasters, health shocks, crop losses and food price shocks.
The FAO Food Price Index rose again in June for the fifth consecutive month, based largely on surging sugar prices and more moderate increases for cereals, dairy, and meat. The 6.6 point increase represents the largest monthly movement in the last four years.
The Cereals Index rose 4.4 points from May, but remains 3.9 percent below June 2015 levels. Strengthened maize prices drove most of this month's increases, as tightening export supplies in Brazil caused prices to rise.
An estimated one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted, according to the FAO, costing the world an estimated $940 billion per year. Food loss and waste (FLW) also exacerbates food insecurity and malnutrition, depletes natural resources, and generates an estimated 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food loss and waste can therefore be a triple win: saving money for farmers, companies, and households, improving food security, and reducing environmental pressures on water, land, and the climate.
The June FAO Monthly Report on Food Price Trends saw mixed trends for international wheat prices in May, but prices generally remained lower than May 2015. The benchmark US wheat price averaged USD 193 per tonne in May; this was down four percent from April and 17 percent below its May 2015 level. The report cites that this drop in price is due mainly to improved global 2016-2017 production prospects.