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G20 expresses concern over global food security

Food security, a major global concern

Concerns over food security have risen in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic. In the first in-person meeting of the Group of 20 held in Italy’s Matera, the foreign ministers underlined the need to increase investments to ensure food security and called for stronger co-ordination to fight the pandemic, which could add over 100 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world. There are already about 840 undernourished million people in the world.

"We express deep concern for the state of food insecurity across the world," the ministers said in the declaration after the meeting. 

External affairs minister S Jaishankar said that Covid has impacted the fight against poverty, hunger and disease across the country. “It has pushed back the global development agenda increasing vulnerability in many societies,” the minister said at the G20 summit.

Also read: India bats for vaccine equity at G20 meet

A recent World Bank report in a recent report noted that an increasing number of countries are facing growing levels of acute food insecurity, reversing years of development gains.

“Covid-19 impacts have led to severe and widespread increases in global food insecurity, affecting vulnerable households in almost every country, with impacts expected to continue through 2021 and into 2022,” the report said.

Typically food inflation has risen while incomes levels have come down due to Covid 19 disruptions. This would result in more and more households are having to cut down on the quantity and quality of their food consumption.

Numerous countries are experiencing high food price inflation at the retail level, reflecting lingering supply disruptions due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, currency devaluations, and other factors, the report added.

“Rising food prices have a greater impact on people in low- and middle-income countries since they spend a larger share of their income on food than people in high-income countries,” it said.