The FAO Food Price Index continued its upward climb in January. The Index rose 4.3 percent from December 2020 to reach the highest monthly level seen since July 2014. As in previous months, cereal, vegetable oil, and sugar prices were behind the rapidly mounting prices.
While agricultural development has long been linked to increased food production and availability, improved farming productivity, and increased incomes for small farmers, the changing global landscape has resulted in agriculture playing a larger role in many other areas of human well-being, including reducing poverty, providing adequate nutrition, improving environmental sustainability, and promoting equity and equality among genders.
When Ellen Piwoz joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2007, the global nutrition field seemed to be struggling. The community “lacked a common narrative and agenda for action,” she said. It was also difficult to engage outsiders who did not understand the nutrition community’s techno-speak, and the field was also critically underfunded with a narrow donor base.
Big costs, bigger rewards: How $33 billion in spending each year can help end hunger sustainably by 2030
The Ceres2030 project has shown the urgent need for additional investments—a yearly average of $14 billion from donors and $19 billion from low-income countries for the next decade—to meet Sustainable Development Goal 2, ending hunger by 2030, and to build more sustainable food security.
But how should that money be spent?
Food prices, as reflected in the FAO Food Price Index, rose to a three-year high in 2020. While the Index closed the year 3.1 percent higher than 2019, however, it remained well below the peak seen in 2011.
In addition to this year-on-year increase, the December Food Price Index also showed a rise of 2.2 percent from November. This marked the seventh straight monthly increase in food prices.