Hunger in Latin America, Caribbean could affect 67 million people by 2030

Julio Berdegué

SANTIAGO, Chile – After five years of continuous rise, hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean affected 47.7 million people in 2019,  and is projected to increase by almost 20 million more over the next 10 years.

This is according to the latest FAO report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2020,  launched in New York on Monday.

SOFI is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The study warns that the region will not reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the 2030 Agenda – zero hunger – by 2030. SOFI projections indicate that hunger, considered as an estimate of the number of people who do not consume enough calories for an active and healthy life, will affect almost 67 million people in 2030 – that is, about 20 million more than in 2019.

The projections do not consider the impact of COVID-19 on food security,. So the actual figures could be even higher.

“We are far worse now than when the region committed to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Hunger has increased by nine million people since then,” said FAO’s regional representative, Julio Berdegué. Hunger now affects 7.4 per cent of the population, and is expected to rise to 9.5 per cent by 2030.

A three-percentage point increase in hunger is projected for Central America by 2030, an additional 7.9 million people. In South America, hunger is projected to increase to 7.7 per cent, equal to almost 36 million people. The Caribbean, while making progress, is also off track to achieve the hunger reduction target of the SDGs by 2030: the SOFI reports estimates that, by 2030, 6.6 million people will live with hunger in that area.

“The hunger figures in 2019 are chilling, as is the forecast for the year 2030. But with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality will be even worse than what we project in this study. We need an extraordinary response from governments, the private sector, civil society and multilateral organizations,” said Berdegué, urging countries and all sectors of society to implement large-scale measures to address rising hunger, food insecurity, poverty and malnutrition.