Home Agriculture 153.4m people are projected to face Catastrophic/Famine 2023—WBG

153.4m people are projected to face Catastrophic/Famine 2023—WBG

by Business News Report

The World Bank Group in recent report has said that 10 countries with the highest food price inflation, in nominal and real terms, faced Catastrophic/Famine levels of food insecurity, which indicates the threat of famine and extremely critical levels of malnutrition in several areas of the countries, marking the most countries facing such extreme levels of food and nutrition insecurity in the report’s history, which began in 2017. According to projections available for 38 of the 58 countries and territories as of March 2023, up to 153.4 million people are projected to be in IPC/CH Phase 3+ or equivalent in 2023. In addition, several shocks that occurred in early 2023 including tropical cyclone Freddy in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique, the earthquakes in the Syrian Arab Republic and Türkiye, and the escalating conflict in the Sudan, were not factored into the available estimates and are likely to exacerbate the acute food insecurity situation in these countries and territories.

The World Bank in a new report indicates that the number of people facing acute food insecurity at Crisis levels or worse has increased from 193 million in 2021. This mostly reflects an increase in the population analysed, although the prevalence of acute food insecurity has also increased from 21.3 percent of the population in 2021 to 22.7 percent in 2022. This trend indicates a deterioration of global acute food insecurity. Although the size of the population analysed has increased, the number of people experiencing Crisis or worse acute food insecurity is the highest on record since the GRFC started reporting these data in 2017. This marks the fourth consecutive year of increases in the global number of acutely food-insecure people.

The report said that the agricultural, cereal, and export price indices closed 8 per cent, 9 per cent and, 11 per cent lower, respectively, than two weeks ago. The decrease in maize and wheat prices, 14 percent and 11 percent lower, respectively, than two weeks ago, drove the decrease in the cereal price index. Rice prices remained relatively unchanged. The decrease in coffee prices, which were 12 percent lower than two weeks ago, was the primary driver of the decrease in the export price index. On a year-on-year basis, maize and wheat prices are 17 percent and 38 percent lower, respectively, while rice prices are 15 percent higher. Maize prices are 13 percent higher than in January 2021, while wheat and rice prices are 6 percent and 4 percent lower

According to the World Bank domestic food price inflation remains high. Information from the latest month between January 2023 and April 2023 for which food price inflation data are available shows high inflation in almost all low- and middle-income countries, with inflation greater than 5 percent in 64.7 percent of low-income countries, 83.7 percent of lower-middle-income countries, and 89.0 percent of upper-middle-income countries with many experiencing double-digit inflation. In addition, 81.8 percent of high-income countries are experiencing high food price inflation. The most-affected countries are in Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. In real terms, food price inflation exceeded overall inflation in 84.3 per cent of the 159 countries for which food CPI and overall CPI indexes are both available. This week’s 10 countries with the highest food price inflation, in nominal and real terms.

The 2023 GRFC finds that the root causes of food crises are complex and interlinked, with conflicts, national and global economic shocks, and weather extremes acting as interrelated, mutually reinforcing drivers of acute food insecurity and hunger. Of these primary drivers, conflict and insecurity remain the most important, with the GRFC indicating that, by the end of 2022, there were an estimated 53.2 million internally displaced people, mainly displaced by conflict, in 25 food-crisis countries. This is an increase from 2021 levels, when there were an estimated 45 million internally displaced people in 24 food-crisis countries.

In addition to conflict and insecurity, the 2023 GRFC highlights that global economic risks and shocks have increased food insecurity and compounded preexisting economic vulnerabilities. For example, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated COVID-19-induced socioeconomic conditions in many countries and limited the contributions of Russia and Ukraine to global production and trade of fuel, fertilisers, and other food commodities. The war has also limited global food trade, particularly in the Black Sea region, and increased global food prices and price volatility. Although international trade agreements such as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the EU Solidarity Lanes initiative, and the memorandum of understanding between Russia and the Secretariat of the United Nations have limited trade disruptions, much uncertainty remains. As part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Solidarity Lanes, Ukraine was able to export more than 58 million tonnes of grain, oilseeds, and related goods between May 2022 and end of March 2023. While these efforts have helped ease high global food prices, their continuation will be critical for the foreseeable future.

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