Nations urged to act as 2.3b hit by hunger

Pupil at Pakka Hills Primary School in Tiaty taking lunch in May 2019. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

An estimated 2.3 billion people globally (29.3 per cent) were food insecure last year, 350 million more compared to before the outbreak of Covid-19.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report advises lower middle-income countries like Kenya to support food and agriculture to improve affordability of healthy diets.

In February, the Kenya Food Security Steering Group’s said there were 3.1 million food-insecure people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, which meant a 48 per cent increase since August 2021.

The findings come against expectations that food security would improve after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 and in the face of global goal set in 2015 to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition by 2030.

The report says 45 million children under five were suffering from wasting, the deadliest form of malnutrition, which increases their risk of death by up to 12 times.

The publication is a product of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation. 

Unicef Executive Director Catherine Russell said: “We must double our efforts to ensure the most vulnerable children have access to nutritious, safe, and affordable diets - and services for the early prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition.”