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World Food Day: Engagement for food security worldwide

A farmer on a field

Farmers learn new techniques so that they can increase their yields in a sustainable and environmentally compatible way., © Tierärzte ohne Grenzen

16.10.2021 - Article

16 October is World Food Day. For some years, food insecurity has been increasing again: 800 million people around the world are suffering from hunger. Germany is working for greater food security.

COVID‑19 – Conflicts – Climate change

A woman is milking a goat
800 million people around the world are suffering from hunger© Tierärzte ohne Grenzen

The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences have exacerbated food insecurity worldwide. A combination of economic downturn, job losses, loss of income and rising food prices means that many people, particularly in developing countries, are finding it increasingly difficult to provide for themselves and their families. The food situation is especially critical in regions that were already at risk of food insecurity even before the pandemic. However, even countries where the food situation was not previously precarious are now increasingly affected, too.

The pandemic is not the only factor contributing to food insecurity and hunger: climate change and violent conflicts are also playing a part. Changes in the climate are causing ever more frequent extreme weather events. In countries that were already affected by food insecurity – such as the countries in the Sahel or East Africa – this is often particularly drastic. In areas where violent conflicts are raging, people can often no longer work their fields, so harvests fail. More than half of all people experiencing hunger live in fragile states.

In 2000, the international community set itself the goal of eradicating world hunger. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2016 also aim for “Zero Hunger”. Attaining this goal by 2030 is becoming more and more difficult, however.

Food insecurity worst in Somalia

According to the 2021 Global Hunger Index published by Welthungerhilfe on 14 October, the situation in Somalia is particularly dramatic. Thirty years of conflict, drought, plagues of locusts and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to widespread malnutrition and hunger. The food situation is also alarming in Yemen, the Central African Republic, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Global Hunger Index states that 800 million people around the world are suffering from hunger.

Germany supports the global fight against hunger

Germany is actively engaged in the fight against hunger worldwide, because food security is crucial for people’s survival and dignity. Only if there is a secure food supply can there be peace and stability. Germany is the second largest donor to the World Food Programme (WFP), contributing around €1.05 billion in 2020. This enabled the World Food Programme to supply people worldwide with food. Cash assistance not only relieves hunger but also stimulates local markets.

In addition, the Federal Foreign Office supports a large number of projects run by non-governmental organisations to tackle hunger in over 60 countries.

The non-governmental organisation Veterinarians Without Borders is active in the Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya with support from the Federal Foreign Office. There is latent food insecurity in all four countries, as well as a large number of internally displaced persons and refugees.

One aspect of the work of Veterinarians Without Borders is to help farmers and fishermen learn new techniques so that they can increase their yields in a sustainable and environmentally compatible way. At the same time, the organisation is working with local populations to rehabilitate water sources, springs and wells, so that they provide enough water for people and livestock. The construction of dams and riverbank walls protects communities from floods and allows fields to be worked more efficiently. Cash‑for‑work elements are also part of the project: by working on the construction sites, the people are earning money for their livelihood.

All these activities are helping to increase the food security of 250,000 people in the four countries. Germany is making €6.6 million available for the project from 2021 to 2023.

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