An estimated 122 million more people around the world faced hunger in 2022 than in 2019, according to the 2023 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, released in December. While progress in reducing hunger was made in Asia and Latin America between 2021 and 2022, hunger continued to rise in Africa, as well as in Western Asia and the Caribbean.
If these trends continue, the report’s authoring organizations warn, the world will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030.
Global and Regional Trends
The recent attacks of Yemen-based Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea have paralyzed shipping through the Suez Canal, forcing exporters in the Black Sea region and elsewhere to consider alternative—and more costly—shipping routes. In early January, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world's second-largest container ship company, announced it would suspend shipments through the Red Sea. Trade volumes in the Suez Canal are down an estimated 40% since the attacks began.
In 2023, the FAO Food Price Index stood nearly 14 percent below its 2022 value, according to the report’s January edition. The December Index also declined month-on-month from November, falling 1.5 percent due to declining sugar, vegetable oil, and meat prices.
Report launch: The key role of trade in strengthening food security in Latin America and the Caribbean
Recent events such as the war in Ukraine and the El Niño weather cycle have demonstrated how shocks triggering changes in production and distribution of food in one country or region can reverberate around the world, eroding food security for millions if not billions. Efficient, agile, and diverse trade networks can help countries and suppliers to cope with these shocks and strengthen food security. These networks are especially relevant for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
The food insecurity situation in the Gaza Strip is becoming increasingly dire. A recent blog of just 10 days ago and based on an assessment by the World Food Programme pointed out that during October and November, 80 percent of the population in Gaza was displaced and more than 80 percent suffered food deficiencies.