Attaining Food Security for All under G20 leadership
Food which is a basic necessity of humans has not yet found its way to every household in the world. Unequal presence of resources as per geographical regions is the primary reason behind it. Further, the unequal production and distribution of food resources aggravate the issue of availability and accessibility of food for all.
A record 349 million people across 79 countries are facing acute food insecurity increased from 287 million in 2021. This constitutes a staggering rise of 200 million people compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. More than 900,000 people worldwide are fighting to survive in famine-like conditions. According to the Global Report on Food Crises 2022, the number of people facing acute hunger rose from 2020, reaching nearly 193 million in 2021.
It is evident that the world is off-track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger by 2030, with an estimated 840 million people to be affected by hunger by 2030. The pandemic is increasing the susceptibility and shortages of global food systems, impacting the production, distribution and consumption of food. With 40 million more people facing food insecurity since 2020, it is worrying trend. There is need to tackle the undelying determinants of poverty and inequality to tackle food crisis.
The pandemic & recent Russia-Ukraine crisis has led to soaring food inflation & hovering on global recession in 2023 as predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Average global prices of wheat, maize, and rice witnessed a rise by 18%, 27%, and 10% respectively from October 2022 relative to October 2021.
Present-day disruptions are paving a way towards Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) world. Therefore, while highlighting the motto of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’, India’s Presidency of G20 should tackle the global food security concern should be one of the agendas.
The goal of food security can be attained with three-fold actions, firstly, reviewing WTO agricultural trade agreement; secondly, strengthening food supply chains. Thirdly, India should take a lead in the establishment of a new international institution, ‘Food Bank’. Every member would contribute their share of agricultural produce and other nations can buy food grains at less tariffs applied than usual MFN rate. When a crisis would appear, a country can borrow food gains from the bank and return it when a situation is normalized.
The bank should mainly contain plant-based balanced diet food as animal-based food production leads to higher amount emissions of Green House Gases (GHG). Thus achieving food security for all is feasible for G20 nations.