Worldwide, there are millions of individuals who suffer from food insecurity: they lack access to enough food that is safe and fits their nutritional needs.
The following article is a summary of the USDA report “International Food Security Assessment 2023-2033″. The report shares the result of the demand-driven International Food Security Assessment (IFSA) tool about the current situation of food security in 83 countries (IFSA countries) over a decade (2023-2033).
What are the factors influencing food security?
- Food availability (agricultural production and market conditions)
- Access to food (economic and physical)
- Stability (price and income shocks)
- Utilization (food safety and nutritional knowledge)
-> Furthermore, food security can be worsened by declining income levels, high food prices, conflicts, climate events, and other shocks.
How was the study conducted?
The demand-driven IFSA model from the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) forecasts food demand and food gaps in 83 low- and middle-income countries. The total population estimated to live in the IFSA countries is 4.3 billion in 2023.
- Food security: estimation of the share of the population unable to reach a caloric threshold of 2,100 kcal per day.
- The intensity of food security: the gap between food demand and the caloric threshold.
- Food demand: expressed in grain equivalents and based on caloric content to allow comparison between four food groups (primary grain consumed in the country, other grains, roots and tubers, and all other food).
- GDP: Per capita income.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Expectations in the International Food Security Assessment (IFSA) Countries
The GDP for the nations included in the IFSA report is anticipated to reach $10.3 trillion in 2023. By 2033, the GDP is anticipated to reach $16.6 trillion, growing at an average annual rate of 4.8 percent over the next ten years. Despite the expected growth, this average annual GDP growth is lower than the average rate of 5.1 percent between 2020 and 22.
Many variables have impacted economic prospects globally: high inflation and tighter monetary policy globally all continue to have an impact on agricultural commodity prices. Furthermore, global economic growth prospects have also been harmed by natural disasters.
International Food Price Projection and Trends and Grain Demand
- High food prices and inflation negatively affect food security
- The most affected will be low-income families and small farmers and food producers.
According to baseline projects, prices for agricultural commodities are estimated to remain higher in 2023 and are expected to decrease at the beginning of 2024 and stabilize for the next 10 years.
-> An example of how food shortage can result in rising prices is offered by the example of how the production of grains worldwide fails to cover demand. In fact, the 83 countries' combined grain demand is anticipated to rise by 2.4 percent annually over the following ten years, reaching 2.3 billion metric tons by 2033.
Furthermore, not just the demand for grain is projected to grow but the overall food demand across the IFSA population is expected to increase in the next year with an annual rate of 3.0 percent.
The report covers a total of 83 countries, divided into 5 regional subcategories. The regional subcategories include countries that experience very different food insecurity situations due to different social, political, economic, or climate influences.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
- The prevalence of food insecurity is expected to decline from 41.5% (2023) to 15.9% in 2033.
- The prevalence of food insecurity varies among countries, with the highest in Burundi (85.2%).
- Project to have the faster population growth rate of the five IFSA regions – 2.6% per year on average.
- Reasons for food insecurity in the region include food price inflation of food and fertilizers, import dependency, conflict in the region, and climate disasters.
Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
- One of the most food secure of the five IFSA regions, with an estimated food insecurity of 17.4%.
- Income improvements and slower population growth are expected to further improvements, leading to a 7.5% food insecure population expected in 2033.
- The region is reliable on imports and, therefore sensitive to global price shocks.
- Parts of the region remain of high importance: Syria and Yemen have the highest prevalence of food insecurity.
Former Soviet Union (FSU)
- Important region for global food supply.
- The ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine threatens the supply of most food commodities in the region.
- In 2023, the prevalence of food insecurity in the region is estimated to be 15.2% in 2023.
- The population in the region is expected to grow very slowly, by 0.2% per year by 2033.
- In 2033, the region is expected to reach the lowest food insecurity rate among IFSA regions, 1.2%.
- The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the region, keeping the prevalence of food-insecure people high in 2023 (21.8%).
- The prevalence of food insecure people in the region varies deeply: from 79.1% in Afghanistan to 7.9% in Vietnam.
- Climate and global price shocks are the main reasons for food insecurity.
- In 2033, the region is expected to reach a lower food insecurity rate of 3.9%.
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
- The prevalence of food insecurity is expected to decline from 22.6% (2023) to 6.9% in 2033.
- The level of food security in the region varies a lot, also influenced by politics.
- Adverse effects on food security in the region include post-pandemic influences and weather-related shocks.
- Haiti is considered one of the most food-insecure nations in the world and is projected to make the least progress in the region.
The main findings according to the article can be summarized as:
- Despite progress, there will still be a high prevalence of food insecurity in 2023, with an estimated 26.6% of the 83 nations that make up the IFSA. This translates to 1.14 billion people who may not be able to consume 2,1001 kcal per day. Compared to 2022, this still represents a 16.8% decrease in food insecurity.
- By 2033, there are expected to be 385.9 million fewer individuals experiencing food insecurity in IFSA nations than there were in 2023 (66.1% less). By 2033, just 7.9% of the population will be unable to ingest 2,100 kcal per day, a drop of 70.3% from the prediction for 2023.
- The average daily caloric food gap is expected to decrease for the 83 nations studied during the next 10 years by 7.8%, from 387 kcal in 2023 to 357 kcal in 2033.
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