Higher food prices fueled a 40% hike in global hunger; WFP

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), acute food insecurity has increased by 40 percent this year as recent food price spikes have worsened existing struggles from conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acute food insecurity, defined as a lack of food that threatens lives, livelihoods, or both, is affecting, or at high risk of affecting, a record 270 million people this year, according to the UN agency.

Mr. Arif Husain, WFP Chief Economist stated, “High food prices are hunger’s new best friend. We already have conflict, climate and COVID-19 working together. Now food prices have joined the deadly trio.”

Based on the estimation of WFP, average wheat flour costs in Lebanon have jumped 219 percent year on year amid escalating economic turbulence, while cooking oil prices in war-torn Syria have risen 440 percent.

According to the UN food agency’s price index, which evaluates a basket of grains, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, and sugar on internationally traded markets, world food prices were up 33.9 percent year over year in June. They did, however, fall in June compared to May, the first drop in a year. Since 2016, world hunger has been on the increase after decades of decline.

The World Food Program (WFP), which was given the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said, over 690 million people, or 9 percent of the world’s population, go to bed hungry every night. This year, it plans to help 139 million people, making it the largest operation in the organization’s history.

Related: Conflict, Climate shock and COVID-19 pushes world at to higher risk of famine; WFP

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