In one year, 4 million people were thrust into hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean
6 July – Santiago, Chile – According to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World
2022 (SOFI), an additional 4 million were thrust into hunger between 2020 and 2021 in Latin
America and the Caribbean.
This downturn comes after an already disheartening increase of 9 million people between 2019
and 2020, with the number of undernourished people reaching a total of 56,5 million in 2021,
8.6 percent of the population.
“The situation is extremely dire. In just two years, thirteen million people have fallen into
hunger. And four out of ten people live with food insecurity, while we have yet to brace for the
impacts of the current food crisis, including the war in Ukraine”, said FAO’s Regional
Representative, Julio Berdegué.
The new UN report states that, of the total number of undernourished people in 2021 (823
million), more than half live in Asia, more than one-third in Africa, while Latin America and the
Caribbean accounts for 7.4 percent of global undernourishment.
The SOFI is a joint publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health
Hunger has nearly doubled in South America since 2015
According to the SOFI, the Caribbean presents the highest proportion of the population
affected by hunger in the region (slightly over 16 percent), compared with about 8 percent in
Central America and in South America.
However, after a general upward trend in hunger in the Caribbean since 2015, and a notable
increase from 2019 to 2020, hunger remained unchanged from 2020 to 2021, albeit still above
In contrast, hunger has nearly doubled in South America since 2015. while in the Caribbean it
has increased by 2.2 percentage points and in Central America by 0.9 percentage points.
“We are facing a major and complex crisis that requires unprecedented actions, not only by
governments but all players in the regional agrifood sytem”, said Berdegué.
Food insecurity continues to worsen
Food insecurity also continued to worsen in Latin America and the Caribbean, driven in large
part by South America, although the deterioration has slowed following a relatively sharp rise in
food insecurity in 2020.
In 2021, 40.6 percent of the population – 268 million people – was facing moderate or severe
food insecurity – an increase of 1.1 percentage points since 2020.
Severe food insecurity affected 93,5 million people in 2021, after rising 1.4 percentage points,
to 14.2 percent – an increase of nearly 10 million more people in one year, and almost 30
million more when compared with 2019.
“The number of people in food insecurity in the region suggests that the problem is no longer
limited to social groups that have lived in poverty for a long time; food insecurity has now
reached the cities and tens of thousands of households that had not experienced it before,”
Widening gender gap in food security
The global gender gap in food insecurity – which had grown in 2020 under the shadow of the
COVID-19 pandemic – widened even further from 2020 to 2021, driven largely by the widening
differences in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Asia.
In 2021, 31.9 percent of women in the world were moderately or severely food insecure
compared to 27.6 percent of men. The growing gap is most evident in Latin America and the
Caribbean, where the difference between men and women was 11.3 percentage points in 2021
compared to 9.4 percentage points in 2020.
Impact of the war in Ukraine
Regarding the impacts of the war in Ukraine, the simulations contained in the SOFI suggest that
under the moderate shock scenario, the global number of undernourished people in 2022
would increase by 7.6 million people, while this rise would amount to 13.1 million people above
baseline estimates under the more severe shock setting.
For Latin America and the Caribbean, by 2022, this would mean an increase of 0.62 percent in
the number of undernourished people in the region – 350 thousand people – under the
moderate shock scenario, and 1.13 percent – 640 thousand people – in the more severe shock
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