A dozen United Nations (UN) institutions today urged all political and social actors to invest directly in agriculture to stop the famine that affected 193 million people in 53 countries in 2021.
“We must address the root causes and not just the consequences,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) today at the launch of the Annual Report on Food Crises, which highlights the 25% increase in people in a situation of extreme famine compared to 2020, which represents 40 million.
“We now see a perfect storm in the world. Things cannot get any worse and after Afghanistan and Ethiopia, now we have Ukraine,” explained Beasley, who recalled that this conflict has further aggravated the crisis in the most vulnerable countries and that depended on their wheat, like Somalia that imported 90%.RELATED
The director of the WFP recalled the situation of Ukrainian farmers, most of whom were displaced to the front line to fight in the conflict and who are also unable to market the grain and products they produce due to the situation in their country.
“All of this comes at a time when developing countries are already grappling with cascading challenges that are none of their business: the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and insufficient resources amid persistent and growing inequalities,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres argued in the report.
Along these lines, the director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Qu Dongyu, stressed that “the war in Ukraine is yet another reminder of how interconnected the world’s food systems are” and their fragility in the face of the alterations.
For this reason, Qu insisted on the need to “accelerate actions to make systems more resilient”, an objective that can only be achieved with direct and urgent aid to people who live in rural areas and work in the agricultural sector, half of the population affected by extreme famine.
UN agencies stressed the need to help farmers “produce food more locally, where it is needed, to mitigate the impact of reduced imports and higher prices.”
Likewise, they pointed out that only 8% of aid for the food security sector in 2020 was destined for the agricultural sector, “a trend that must change” because investing in agriculture must be a more strategic decision because “the return is 10 times higher to that of food aid”.
“If we don’t start giving the same priority to investments aimed at reviving local agricultural production to save lives and make agriculture in vulnerable countries more resilient, 2022 will be the same as 2021, or worse,” the report’s authors stated. .
The director of the WFP verified this forecast, stating that between 40 and 50 million more people will lose all their food security if the aid does not begin to be applied urgently.
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