1. Food Security in the Context of
COVID-19: Challenges and
Dr Khaled Eltaweel
Regional Coordinator, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
2. COVID-19 has
affected the pillars of
• “Food security exists when all people,
at all times, have physical, social and
economic access to sufficient, safe
and nutritious food to meet their
dietary needs and food preferences for
an active and healthy life”.
• Food Security Pillars:
3. The world is not on track to achieve Agenda 2030
• Hunger is up to 811 million people in
2020 (161 million increase).
• 2.37 billion (30% of the world) did not
have access to adequate food (up by 320
• PoU increased from 8.4% to 9.9%
• SDG Target 2.1, of ensuring access to
safe, nutritious and sufficient food or
SDG Target 2.2, of eradicating all forms
of malnutrition are not on track to be
• 660 million people may still face
hunger in 2030 in part due to lasting
effects of the pandemic.
4. Unequal distribution of Food insecurity
- More than half of the world’s
undernourished are in Asia and one-
third in Africa.
- 46 million more unnourished people in
Africa and 57 million in Asia in 2020.
- Almost all low and middle-income
countries were affected by pandemic-
induced economic downturns- Five
times greater than the highest increase
in undernourishment in the last two
- Combined impacts of the pandemic
and climate-related disasters and
Source: SOFI 2021
5. Africa is lagging Behind in SDG2
- About 21% faced hunger in 2020
(double the proportion of other
- Nine out of ten of children with
stunting and wasting live in Africa
- More than 30% of Women suffer
from Anemia (SDG indicator 2.2.3)
vs. 14.6% in Northern America and
- One billion in Africa cant afford
6. Food insecurity in Africa’s sub-regions
• Severe food insecurity increased sharply in
Western Africa from 19.6 to 28.8 percent
• Moderate increases in Southern Africa-
prevalence of moderate insecurity rose from
44.3 to 49.7 percent.
• Smaller increases of 1% percent in Northern
Africa, where 30.2 percent of the population
was affected by moderate or severe food
insecurity in 2020.
7. COVID-19 exposed Agrifood systems Vulnerabilities
- COVID-19 added to the pressures on
- External Drivers (conflicts or climate shocks,
and Economic slowdown; COVID-19).
- Internal Drivers (e.g. low productivity and
inefficient food supply chains; high cost of
healthy diets and inequality ).
- 3 billion people, especially the poor, in
every region of cant afford healthy diet.
- The Food Systems summit recognizes those
drivers and set the stage for food systems
transformation to achieve the Sustainable
Development Goals by 2030.
8. World Economies are Recovering
• 2020: Double Hits (decreasing export earnings
combined with increasing bill of imports); 200 million
jobs lost and 95 million more below poverty line.
• One percent fall in growth of the world economy
pushed more than 22 million people into extreme
poverty and 0.7 million stunned children.
• 2021: Upward outlook supported by fiscal support in
• Global growth of 6.0% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022.
• Recovery will vary across countries.
9. Food Prices continue to increase
• FAO Food Price Index reached 133.2 points
in October 2021 (3% increase from
September and 31.3% increase from
October 2020. Highest level since July
• The agricultural and food sector
demonstrated resilience in face of the
global COVID-19 pandemic, but the
compounding effect of income losses and
inflation have impacted access to healthy
diets (FAO-OECD agriculture outlook 2021-
- 111 measures of initial temporary export
10. FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme
• 1.3 billion USD Programme.
• Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
• Data for decision-making.
• Economic inclusion and social protection to
• Trade and food safety standards.
• Boosting smallholder resilience for recovery.
• Preventing the next zoonotic pandemic.
• Agrifood systems transformation.
12. The FAO Hand in Hand Initiative
• An evidence based initiative to
reduce poverty, eliminate hunger
and increase agriculture productivity
and rural living standards.
• Using geo‐spatial modeling to
identify the biggest opportunities to
raise income and reduce inequalities.
• Focus on LDCs, Land-locked, SIDS,
highly populated, and Food Crises
• Match Making between Resource Partners and
13. South-South and Triangular Cooperation
• SSTC is a key delivery modality to catalyze
agricultural development, food security, rural
development, poverty reduction and nutrition.
• FAO's capacity as a global advocator, convener,
broker, facilitator and enabler of SSTC as part of
the Decade of Action to accelerate the
implementation of the Agenda 2030.
• Key thematic focus areas include the Hand-in-
Hand-Initiative (HIHI), Agricultural Innovation,
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and COVID-
19 Recovery and Response.
14. Six Pathways to Agrifood Systems Transformation
• Formulation of comprehensive
portfolios of policies, investments
and legislation along several
• Coherence among food, health,
social protection and environmental
systems is essential.
• Accelerators as effective and
inclusive governance mechanisms
and access to technology, data and
15. Agrifood Systems coherence with other Systems
• Environmental systems interact
with food systems at the
• Health systems ensure that
people are able to utilize foods.
• Social protection systems
addresses vulnerabilities to
poverty through the reduction
of financial barriers to food
• COVID-19 is l wake-up call on the fragility of our agrifood systems and the
need to tackle the root causes of food insecurity and design evidence-
• Use agrifood system lens to better understand the interactions between
food security drivers and other systems to identify points of
• Build on the moment created by the Food Systems summit to continue to
put food security on top of the international agenda and transform
agrifood systems to provide affordable health diets that are sustainable
• Partnerships between FAO and the African Union is key to achieving
Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063.
World Food Summit 1996.
Availability- mechanized food systems vs labour-intensive. Disruptions in supply
chains for agricultural inputs could also affect food production going forward.
Access: most hit, recession, decreasing income and increasing costs., safety nets, marganlized groups.
Utilization: decreasing access to healthy diet especially in developing countries (high proportion of income). Shift towards more processed food.
Stability: disruptions to food supply chains, \ export restrictions placed on staples like wheat
and rice led to higher world prices for those crops, compared to prices for other foods, which
generally fell (FAO, 2020c). Although most of the COVID-19 food export restrictions were
temporary, the risk remains that countries may impose new export restrictions).
30 million additional because of COVID19.
-A significant increase is forecast in 2030 for Africa (from more than
280 million to 300 million people. While a decrease in Asia from 418 to 300 million.
- The current rates of progress on child stunting, exclusive breastfeeding and low birthweight are insufficient, and progress
on child overweight, child wasting, anaemia in women of reproductive age and adult obesity is stalled.
Compounded impacts of COVID19 through the intergenerational effects.
Drivers combined push cost of food up combined with low levels of income impact access
The percentage of the population who cannot afford a healthy diet in countries affected by multiple drivers in 2019 was 39 percent and 66 percent
higher, respectively, than in countries affected by a single driver or no driver at all.
Conflict negatively affects almost every aspect of a food system, from production, harvesting, processing and transport to input
supply, financing, marketing and consumption.
Climate variability and extremes affect agricultural productivity, and also affect food imports
as countries try to compensate for domestic production losses. Climate-related disasters
can lead to significant impacts across the food value chain.
Economic slow down:- impact access and employement
Food Loss and Waste. Around 33%
dDepending on access to medical interventions, effectiveness of policy support, exposure to cross-country spillovers, and structural characteristics entering the crisis
Both food supply and food demand were impacted initially:- Limitations on factors of production; safety measures, workers, supply chain---
Food Demand: panic buying, income decine, fears of contamination, shift in consumption patterns.
Sub Saharan African countries imported more than 40 million tons of cereals from around the world in 2018.
According to the Outlook, average global food availability per person is projected to grow by 4% over the next ten years,
reaching just over 3 025 kcal/day in 2030. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where 224.3 million people were undernourished in 2017-19, daily per
capita calorie availability is projected to increase by only 2.5% over the next decade to 2500
kcal in 2030
SDGs1,2 and 10
Better production: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, through efficient and inclusive food and agriculture supply chains at local, regional and global level, ensuring resilient and sustainable agri-food systems in a changing climate and environment. Programme Priority Areas: Innovation for sustainable agriculture production / Blue transformation / One Health / Small-scale producers’ equitable access to resources / Digital agriculture
Better Nutrition: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition in all its forms, including promoting nutritious food and increasing access to healthy diets.
Programme Priority Areas:Healthy diets for all / Nutrition for the most vulnerable / Safe food for everyone / Reducing food loss and waste / Transparent markets and trade
Better Environment: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and combat climate change (reduce, reuse, recycle, residual management) through more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.
Programme Priority Areas:
Climate change mitigating and adapted agri-food systems / Bioeconomy for sustainable food and agriculture / Biodiversity and ecosystem services for food and agriculture
Promote inclusive economic growth by reducing inequalities (urban/rural areas, rich/poor countries, men/women).
Programme Priority Areas:
Gender equality and rural women’s empowerment / Inclusive rural transformation / Achieving sustainable urban food systems / Agriculture and food emergencies / Resilient agri-food systems / Hand-in-Hand (HIH) Initiative / Scaling up investment
Using data on soil maps, water, forestry, road network, crop areas, and crop calendar combined with economic data.
The Initiative prioritizes countries where national capacities and international support are most limited or
where operational challenges, including natural or man‐made crises, are greatest. This is in keeping with
the UN’s commitment to “leave no one behind.”
areas in the north have low potential and low efficiency, but that the areas in the center, south, and east (with the dark green color) have high agricultural
potential and low efficiency.
At risk of oversimplification, it can be said that the north of the country needs immediate assistance, such as social safety net programs and conditional cash transfers
implement). The policies there should also aim to build large‐scale infrastructure development, like rural
roads and electrical grids in the long‐term. Bringing in the International Financial Institutions, to put technical and policy knowledge into
action. It also means attracting private sector investment by bringing information on areas of
nvestment for development.
GIS offered to donors and recipient countries to identify policy interventions with high return on investment.
• Since its establishment in 2009, the FAO-China SSC Programme has supported 13 national projects in 12 host countries in Africa, including Cabo Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Namibia and Uganda (SSC Programme Phases I and II).
• The FAO-China SSC Programme has also inspired developed countries to support Africa through triangular cooperation (TrC). For example, a TrC project with the financial support from the Netherlands and China ($ 3million in total), is aiming to enhance the aquaculture value chain development in Ethiopia, as well as stimulate the public-private partnership;
• Another example of TrC project is among the Germany, China and Kenya on improving low carbon tea planting and tea value chain development in Kenya, with financial commitment ($2.5 million in total) and technical support from Germany and China. FAO has been playing the role of coordination and technical mapping, and will be managing this project with joint efforts by the Headquarter Units and the Decentralized Office.
There are six possible pathways through which food systems could be transformed
to address the major drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition and ensure access to affordable
healthy diets for all, sustainably and inclusively.
food systems are affected by climate events, but also because food systems themselves impact
on the state of the environment and are a driver of climate change.
Interventions at the supply chain to increase availability.
Policies shall reinforce each other
Support the most vulnerable people.