In reaction to the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) report revealing that nearly 12% of the world’s population – or 811 million people – were undernourished last year and that increase is equal to last five years combined, Oxfam’s Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods Advisor Emily Farr said:
“Oxfam is extremely worried that these downward trends, which will push us further away from our global 2030 zero hunger target, will only get worse unless the alarms raised are heard. The pandemic was the last straw for millions already battered by the impacts of conflict, economic shocks and a worsening climate crisis.
“These new figures are a sombre reminder of how broken our global food and economic systems are. More than half the world’s population did not have social protection to cope with the adverse effects of the pandemic. Small farmers were forced to watch their crops rot during the pandemic even when global food prices rose by 40%, while the biggest food companies have amassed over $10 billion of additional revenues last year.
“Hunger and malnutrition are not about a lack of food but a lack of equality. While we watch billionaires compete in a modern-day space race, millions are going to bed hungry, and an estimated 11 people are dying from hunger every minute.
“Women, children, displaced people, informal workers and disadvantaged groups are bearing the brunt of this food crisis. Over 22% of the world’s children face severe stunting, and 7% face wasting as a result of malnutrition.
“Donor governments must immediately fund the UN food security appeal, and ensure aid reaches those most in need to help save lives now. Governments must cancel debt for low and middle-income countries to free up $1 trillion for social protection.
“Building a fairer, more robust and sustainable food system is also key. Governments must prioritize the interests of small-scale food producers - the women and men who feed hundreds of millions of people every day – over the profits of mega rich food companies.”