World Goes Hungry; Call For Preventing Worsening Situation

Mistakes of 2008 Led to Hunger Drive after 2000

The world is going hungry every day and everyone is much concerned, which prompted leaders of five international humanitarian, banking and trade organizations to appeal for further urgent action to prevent  global food and nutrition crisis from worsening.

Heads of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group (WBG), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Trade Organization (WTO) on February 8, 2023, called for rescuing “hunger hotspots” and facilitating trade, among other measures.


The top leaders said in a statement that food inflation remains high in the wake of shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate emergency, Russia’s war in Ukraine. In the statement, they said that nearly 350 million people across 79 countries are acutely food insecure, and undernourishment is on the rise.

Warning of a worsening of the situation with global food supplies projected to drop to a three-year low, they said that the need is especially dire in 24 countries identified as hunger hotspots, 16 of which are in Africa.


In the statement, the leaders said, “we call on governments and donors to support country-level efforts to address the needs in hotspots, share information and strengthen crisis preparedness,” the leaders said.

They stressed that WFP and FAO require funds urgently to serve the most vulnerable immediately.

WFP and partners reached a record number of people last year. The agency delivered food and nutrition assistance to more than 140 million thanks to a record-breaking $14 billion in contributions. 

FAO also invested $1 billion to support more than 40 million people in rural areas with agricultural interventions, while the World Bank provided a $30 billion food and security package covering a 15-month period ending this July. 

Funding must also be mobilized so that the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) can provide concessional financing to poorer countries, while its new Food Shock Window has so far supported Ukraine, Malawi, Guinea and Haiti.  

Donors and governments should also support the Global Alliance for Food Security, which promotes greater crisis preparedness. 


The organization heads called for facilitating trade, improving the functioning of markets and enhancing the role of the private sector.

“Countries should minimize trade distortions, strengthen the provision of public goods, and enable the private sector to contribute meaningfully to improved food security outcomes,” they advised.

Furthermore, they urged governments to avoid policies such as export restrictions, which can impact poor people in low-income nations that import food, while advocating for support for trade facilitation measures that improve the availability of food and fertilizer.


Although countries have lifted some export bans on wheat and rice, they warned that new restrictions and bans, particularly on vegetables, are hampering availability worldwide. 

“Global food security can be strengthened if governments support both food producers and consumers in a smart and targeted manner, such as by strengthening the provision of public goods in ways that improve farm productivity sustainably,” they said. 

The World Bank has a $6 billion platform that supports farmers to access fertilizers and other critical supplies, while at the same time helping private companies make longer-term investments, according to the statement. 


Countries should also reform and re-purpose harmful subsidies for more targeted and efficient programmes towards global food security and sustainable food systems. 

“Most of the global social protection response to inflation is in the form of subsidies, half of which are untargeted, inefficient, and costly to already constrained governments,” the leaders said. 

“Support should be scaled up for countries to strengthen and deploy comprehensive, actionable and shock responsive social protection strategies.”  


They further highlighted the need to re-examine and reform support to agriculture. While this amounted to roughly $639 billion per year between 2016 and 2018, and has been rising since then, farmers received only 35 cents for every dollar spent.  

“Much of this support incentivizes inefficient use of resources, distorts global markets, or undermines environmental sustainability, public health, and agricultural productivity,” they stated. 

Instead, funding should be used to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of the agri-food system, including through the adoption of good agricultural practices, research and innovation, and improved infrastructure.  

“Action is already under way to address underlying structural challenges in social protection and in the food and fertilizer markets, but more concerted action across these three key areas is needed to prevent a prolonged crisis,” they noted. 


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