As the world is reeling under food crisis, the Food and Agriculture Organisation has come up with five urgent steps to halt the global food crisis and transform agrifood systems.
FAO Director General Qu Dongyu outlined the steps in his address to the G7 Ministerial Conference “Uniting for Global Food Security.”
The major threats to global food security and functioning of agrifood systems as cited by Qu are COVID19 pandemic, interruption of supply chain and rising costs of major primary commodities, war in Ukraine, and other conflicts and humanitarian crises across the world and their detrimental consequences. The situation has been further aggravated by the long-term decreased investment in agrifood systems, facing pressure under climate change and population growth, he noted.
“We are at serious risk of facing a food access crisis now, and a food availability crisis for the next season,” the Director-General said.
THE FIVE STEPS
First: Invest in countries most severely affected by the increase in food prices. In addition to food aid, supporting local production of nutritious foods is also key. Currently only eight percent of all food security funding in emergencies and crisis aids goes to assist agricultural production.
Second; Greater support for the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) multi-partner initiative for improving food security and nutrition analysis and decision-making to expand the country coverage.
The IPC provides information on the scale and severity of food insecurity and famine situation. In 2021, the G7 recognized the IPC as the “gold standard for food security analysis, underscoring its role as the critical pillar of global responses to hunger.”
IPC coverage needs to increase from 46 to at least 84 countries facing a challenging situation,” Qu said.
Third; Countries need to foster policies that increase productivity, efficiency, resilience, and inclusivity of agrifood systems. This requires financial investment, estimated at eight percent of the size of the agrifood market. The investment should cover hard infrastructure, value chain infrastructure, innovation, new technologies and digital inclusive infrastructure.
Fourth; Reducing food loss and waste can improve food security and nutrition. Foods currently lost and wasted could feed around 1.26 billion people per year. “If we try to reduce 50 percent of food loss and waste, there would be sufficient fruits and vegetables for all”, the Director-General stated.
Fifth; Ensure better and more efficient use of available fertilizers is of paramount importance. It is crucial that all key partners work in a coherent way to get necessary fertilizers available to farmers in time, Qu said.
The FAO also urged countries to improve fertilizer efficiency to fit local farming systems.