SOFI 2023 Report Shows Need for Action in Global Food Security and Food Safety
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2023 report has unveiled concerning trends and challenges in the global landscape of food security and nutrition. While overall progress has stagnated between 2021 and 2022 in addressing global hunger, there remain numerous regions particularly struggling with intensifying food crises.
Persistent Challenges in Global Hunger
The SOFI 2023 report reveals a complex picture of global hunger. Despite a minor pause in numbers between 2021 and 2022, various parts of the world are still going through food crises. More than 122 million additional people have fallen into the clutches of hunger since 2019. That is due to the “perfect storm” of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, repeated weather shocks caused by climate change, and global conflicts. These numbers emphasise the urgency of targeted efforts to address the underlying causes of these crises and essential food security for the affected populations.
A Stark Reality When It Comes to Nutritional Access
The report also highlights the severe reality the global population is facing in accessing healthy food. Around 2.4 billion individuals, primarily women and rural residents, were struggling to obtain safe and nutritious food in 2022. This inequality in nutritional access underscores the urgent need for comprehensive policy measures that ensure everyone’s right to food security and nutrition – regardless of their socio-economic status or geographical location.
Alarming Child Malnutrition Rates
Child malnutrition remains a pressing concern despite ongoing efforts. In 2021, a staggering 22.3% (148.1 million) of children under five years old faced stunting, 6.8% (45 million) were wasted, and 5.6% (37 million) were overweight. These figures highlight the multifaceted challenge that necessitates holistic interventions spanning food access, healthcare, access to crucial food safety information, and social support systems for vulnerable children.
Global Public Health at Risk Due to Foodborne Diseases
The SOFI 2023 report emphasises the significance of ensuring food safety in global public health. Territorial food markets, while essential for local economies, have occasionally been hotbeds for major outbreaks of foodborne diseases worldwide. These outbreaks can occur due to poor infrastructure, inadequate agricultural practices, and food contamination by various agents. The report highlights that investing in the rehabilitation and renovation of these markets, coupled with proper regulations, can significantly improve food safety, quality, and public health.
Urbanisation and Agrifood Systems Transformation
The SOFI 2023 report looks ahead to the future, forecasting that by 2050, around 70% of the global population will reside in urban areas. This significant shift mandates a reimagining of food systems to cater to the needs of growing urban populations while simultaneously addressing hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition.
A Call to Collaborative Action
As the chief economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Maximo Torero noted, the global food system remains vulnerable to significant risks and uncertainties. The SOFI 2023 report, prepared by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, serves as a wake-up call for collective action on worldwide food security and nutrition challenges.
How Can Projects Such As STELAR Help?
The EU-funded STELAR project can play an essential role in helping shape food standards and sustainable agricultural practices, thanks to its innovative approach to data management. It holds the potential to aid in the area of food security, food safety, foodborne diseases, and sustainable agricultural practices. This is important to note, as the SOFI report highlights that farmers can gain better insight into agricultural inputs and services when urban and rural zones connect more effectively.
STELAR aims to design and develop a cutting-edge Knowledge Lake Management System (KLMS). The goal is to enable the transformation of raw data lakes into knowledge lakes, aiding in the generation of high-quality, AI-ready datasets. This innovative approach holds the potential to revolutionise data management in the agrifood sector.
More precisely, STELAR will present its KLMS in real-life use cases (Pilots) which have the goal of lowering food insecurity, boosting food safety, and making the development of agricultural strategies for farmers an easier task:
Initiatives like the STELAR project can be imperative for collaborative efforts to create a society where everyone has access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food. As global stakeholders come together to tackle these challenges, the hope is that future reports will reflect the progress made in achieving a more secure and nourished world for all. To stay in the know about STELAR and its progress in developing the KLMS platform, follow updates on its Newsroom.