The Future of Food Security in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
November 01, 2021
Willem Verhagen, David Bohl, Mallory Cannon, Andres Pulido, Audrey Pirzadeh, Iris Nott, Jonathan D. Moyer
A large share of the global population today is food insecure, with 10.9 percent of the global population undernourished in 2019 and 23.0 percent of children under five affected by stunting. Safe and affordable access to a diverse, nutritious diet is a basic human need and human right, and food security is embedded in the much broader concept of human development, with linkages to economic growth, household income, environmental sustainability, inequality, child mortality, education, and access to safe water and sanitation. Evaluating progress toward eradicating food insecurity requires not only quantifying food security today but assessing the future of food security over the next decades.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed existing patterns of food security, but we have limited understanding of how this global crisis may affect food security in the future. Historically, economic, environmental, and conflict-related crises tend to worsen food security directly, with measurable lasting, sometimes cascading, effects over time. The COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to be an exception. Initial estimates suggest that 83 to 155 million more people around the world became undernourished in 2020, and child undernourishment and child mortality also rose dramatically. Studies so far have provided little information on the expected magnitude and pathways of the pandemic’s longterm impact on food security