A new report says there were both advances and setbacks in food security in 2014. Poverty was reduced last year and the number of hungry people declined. However, conflict, climate change and disease disrupted food production and trade.
The International Food Policy Research Institute has released its Global Food Policy Report. IFPRI Director- General Shenggen Fan listed some of the accomplishments of last year.
“We have achieved some progress. For example, we paid more attention to nutrition. We also think water, hygiene are very important in solving children’s under nutrition. We have also seen new commitments on trade and climate change – and [a] focus on family farming. The year 2014 was a year of family farming. So we made enough progress on various fronts.”
But Fan said 2014 had its share of threats to food security.
“For example,” he said, “persistent conflicts, reemerging of zoonotic diseases – avian influenza, Ebola – and continued extreme weather shocks – typhoon in the Philippines – rising food safety scandals – Taiwan, mainland China and beyond. [There was also the] higher prices of nutritious foods, such as vegetables and fruits, despite very stable grain prices for the last four or five years.”
Syria topped the list of conflicts in 2014 with its regional impact. Somalia and South Sudan are other examples of how conflict threatens food security for millions of people.
“We have seen the increased correlation between conflicts and increased malnutrition in many parts of the world. In the rest of the world, we have achieved tremendous progress in cutting hunger and malnutrition, although the number is still very high. But it is in some of the conflict zones that malnutrition is actually rising,” he said.
Fan said climate change has long-term consequences on food security. He says there are still some skeptics, despite the overwhelming number of studies confirming its effects.
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