Global food insecurity is expected to rise by 11% in 2020 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report published in August.
An additional 83.5 million people worldwide will face challenges in obtaining sufficient, healthy food options if this projection holds, according to the USDA’s International Food Security Assessment, 2020-30.
Conditions in 76 low- or middle-income nations in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan and North Africa were assessed for the report to determine where people would be “unable to consume 2,100 calories a day, an average caloric level necessary to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle.”
The increase would mean 22% of the total population – 844 million people – in the regions noted above would be food insecure.
This number could be even higher, as “projections do not consider the potential impacts of future catastrophic weather, armed conflict or political and economic instability events.”
Asia and Sub Saharan Africa are expected to have the greatest increases in food insecurity due to COVID-19, resulting in 15.4% of Asia’s total population and 40.5% of Sub Saharan Africa’s population being food insecure.
By comparison, 21.1% of the total population of Latin America and the Caribbean and 5.1% of North Africa’s population are projected to be food insecure this year.
While long-term projections still anticipate an overall decline in food insecurity, there would be 456.8 million persons facing food insecurity by 2030 – a 13% increase over previous estimates – due to increases resulting from the pandemic.