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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Food Insecurity: A Serious Concern  

The hunger hurricane will hit a global food system that stands on very shaky foundations. Rising average temperatures and the greater frequency of extreme weather events are increasingly threatening agricultural yields, especially in the 44% of the world’s cultivated lands that are situated in areas already classified as drylands. The rising input costs will certainly dampen the production response in some parts of the world

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There is a 95 percent chance that the number of people facing food insecurity will rise in the range between 142 million and 243 million by November, from roughly 1.6 billion in mid-May. Moreover, the upward pressure on food prices due to export bans by several countries including India may make the humanitarian toll much worse. A report titled “Food Security and the Coming Storm” prepared jointly by Eurasia Group and Devry BV Sustainable Strategies has said that over the last three months, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked agriculture markets, bringing the problems of high food inflation and rising global hunger into focus. Even before the war, levels of hunger had already surpassed all previous records in 2021, which made close to 193 million people acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance across 53 countries and territories.

After pairing the Gro Intelligence estimates of the number of people globally who are food insecure, at risk of extreme poverty, and hanging on the edge of famine as per the World Bank and World Food Programme definitions, the present report has said, “The number of people living in extreme poverty — on less than USD 2.29 per day — could increase by 103 million – 201 million from just under 1.1 billion at present. Lastly, the number of people on the brink of famine, or those who face the greatest degree of deprivation, could increase by 3.5 million – 6.9 million, from about 49 million. Even in the most optimistic scenario of a near-term cease-fire in Ukraine, Gro Intelligence would expect those at risk to decline only modestly over the next five months.”

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The hunger hurricane will hit a global food system that stands on very shaky foundations. Rising average temperatures and the greater frequency of extreme weather events are increasingly threatening agricultural yields, especially in the 44% of the world’s cultivated lands that are situated in areas already classified as drylands. The rising input costs will certainly dampen the production response in some parts of the world.

In India, early and severe heat waves affected the country’s main wheat-producing states in April, leading to fires on farms and generating up to 35% of crop losses. Such high temperatures have forced the country to focus on domestic demand, derailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to “feed the world”; wheat exports from India were suspended on May 13, though based on comments from the Indian government, this is not an all-out ban, as exports for humanitarian reasons will still be permitted. India’s wheat exports reached 7.8 million tons in the 2021-2022 fiscal year (which ended in March), an all-time high, in large part because of the Ukraine crisis. But the current severe heat waves will likely reduce agricultural output. These factors have derailed Modi’s recent offer to supply the world with India’s wheat surpluses, forcing his government into its abrupt restriction of wheat exports on May 13. While Modi’s government remains well positioned, rising food prices over the long term could worsen social tensions.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
Welcome to The Hills Times, your trusted source for daily news and updates in English from the heart of Assam, India. Since our establishment in 2000, we've been dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our readers in Diphu and Guwahati. As the first English newspaper in the then undemarcated Karbi Anglong district, we've forged a strong connection with diverse communities and age groups, earning a reputation for being a reliable source of news and insights. In addition to our print edition, we keep pace with the digital age through our website, https://thehillstimes.in, where we diligently update our readers with the latest happenings day by day. Whether it's local events, regional developments, or global news, The Hills Times strives to keep you informed with dedication and integrity. Join us in staying ahead of the curve and exploring the world through our lens.
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