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Gulfood Green 2024

10 Apr 2024

Food security trends in 2024 and beyond

Food security trends in 2024 and beyond

In 2024 food security is likely to remain one of the critical challenges for the world to face. The World Bank has therefore included food and nutrition security among the eight global challenges to address at scale, and has mobilized $45 billion in resources to tackle issues and protect livelihoods worldwide — surpassing its initial projected commitment of $30 billion announced  in May 2022

 

Anticipating and understanding the evolution of food security and its reactions to future trends is essential for effective policy-making and developing responsive plans. The World Bank's World Food Security Outlook (WFSO), updated three times a year and last in October 2023, serves as one of the comprehensive resources developed to support this endeavor. This blog aims to distill the key insights from the WFSO's latest findings and their implications for food security in 2024 and beyond. 


The World Food Security Outlook: A Comprehensive Tool for Analysis
In October 2023, the World Bank published the updated the World Food Security Outlook (WFSO). Published three times each year, the WFSO is an innovative model-based data series designed to monitor and analyze global food security, providing essential information to complement official statistics and help understand the evolving landscape. Comprising historical, preliminary, and forecast data, the WFSO offers insights into severe food insecurity worldwide, filling critical gaps in knowledge. Key components of the WFSO cover severe food insecurity prevalence, estimates for countries lacking official data, population sizes of the severely food insecure, and required safety net financing. 

One of its primary uses lies in complementing official data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published in the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, filling in gaps for unreported countries and a forward-looking view based on a machine learning model that leverages the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) database and the IMF's World Economic Outlook (WEO). The WFSO includes estimates for safety net financing needs following past International Development Association (IDA) approaches originally used in IDA (2020).

Previous versions of this outlook have been used to estimate demand for Early Response Financing under the IDA Crisis Response Window, in Bank regional economic updates, to inform the Bank-wide response to the global food crisis, and update G24 on food security financing perspectives.  

In the World Bank Food Security Update for December 2023 the October 2023 WFSO has been used to analyze major trends in global food security, and it has also been featured in the Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard. This blog summarizes the insights. At a glance, the latest projections suggest that global food security conditions are stabilizing slowly in 2024, but that disparities between income groups are increasing.

Global Food Security Conditions Are Slowly Stabilizing
The global recovery from COVID-19 and Russia's invasion of Ukraine is slow, impacting economic stability. Elevated inflation, tighter monetary policies, reduced fiscal support, and extreme weather events contribute to continued pressure on global economic growth. As a result, the October 2023 Outlook tentatively suggests a global peak in the prevalence of severe food insecurity was reached at 11.9% globally in 2020-2022, with only a slight near-term improvement to 11.8% (2021-2023) and 11.6% (2022-2023), showing significant variation across regions and income groups. Short-term food insecurity improvements may however stall, posing a risk of reaching a new high of 943 million people facing severe food insecurity by 2025. Looking to 2028, the global severely food insecure population is projected to hit 956 million, narrowly avoiding a billion in a downside economic scenario if central banks fail to control inflation and respond with further tightening, leading to suppressed growth.

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