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Crop Biotech Update

Global Report Reveals Scope of Food Crises as COVID-19 Poses New Risks to Vulnerable Countries

April 29, 2020

The Global Network Against Food Crises, an international alliance of humanitarian and development actors committed to tackling the root causes of food crises, has released The Global Report on Food Crises 2020. This year's Global Report reveals the scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries. The data and analyses presented in the Global Report predate the COVID-19 pandemic but reveal an already dire picture of global acute food insecurity and malnutrition – even before the disease's spread began to impact food systems.

The report reveals that at the close of 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries and territories faced acute food insecurity, and required urgent action. In addition, over 183 million people were in stressed food insecurity conditions, at high risk of sliding into acute food insecurity if confronted by additional shocks – which is particularly worrisome in light of the anticipated evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, 17 million children in these 55 countries and territories suffered from wasting due to acute malnutrition, and as many as 75 million had stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.

This is the highest level of acute food insecurity and malnutrition documented by the Network since the first edition of the report was released in 2017. More than half (73 million) of the 135 million people covered by the report live in Africa; 43 million live in the Middle East and Asia; 18.5 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean. The key drivers behind the trends analyzed in the report were: conflict, (the key factor that pushed 77 million people into acute food insecurity), weather extremes (34 million people), and economic turbulence (24 million). Unfortunately, the situation in 2020 could continue to worsen due to the impact of COVID-19, although the precise magnitude of the deterioration is not yet known.

For more details, read the Global Report's Key Takeaways, or visit the Food Crises and COVID-19 website.

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