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The domino effects of a global food shortage


The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that 349 million people in 79 countries face “acute food insecurity”, an increase of 200 million people before the pandemic. This sudden rise has led the organization and others like it to warn that the world is hungrier than ever.

There are several reasons for the dangerous food shortage, and world leaders are warning that the lack of necessary nutrition will lead to death and massive social unrest.

Measuring the global food crisis

Public health experts determine whether an area is in famine based on the daily death rate and the percentage of malnourished children. The WFP estimate that 49 million people in 49 countries are on the brink of famine. This figure includes nearly 900,000 people who are already experiencing famine or near famine in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Famine is the most extreme level of a food shortage. Public health officials are also monitoring acute food insecurity, that is life-threatening disability to consume enough food. Some consider it is a slow-burning famine and 349 million people are currently food insecure.

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Another level of scarcity – malnutrition – is used to describe people who are unable to consistently reach their daily caloric intake. Currently the United Nations baby almost 900 million people are malnourished.

The malnourished population reached 800 million during the global recession in the early 2000s. The situation improved by about 200 million in the early 2010s, but started to rise during the pandemic. There are several reasons why hunger is on the rise, making a quick fix not an option.

Scarce food supplies

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 is one of the reasons for the increase in food shortages and high prices. Russia is both a top wheat and fertilizer supplierand the war has interrupted inventory and raised prices.


Twenty percent of the world’s calorie intake comes from wheat. The US is also considered a top wheat exporter, but only produces about 6 or 7 percent of the world’s supply. While the US can produce its own wheat or import it from Canada, dozens of countries around the world are cut off from the imports they need.

In response to the supply shortage, some countries have banned exports of crops, fertilizers and other supplies to maintain their own supplies. But for some vulnerable countries, these preserves do not exist, and their people have fallen into a state of famine, acute food insecurity or malnutrition.

Crisis and conflict due to food shortages

Countries experiencing food scarcity tend to have a few factors in common. The WFP cites conflict as one of the main reasons why populations go hungry. Sixty percent of the world’s hungry live in conflict zones. Haiti, for example, has experienced political unrest, especially after the assassination of its president. Likewise, Afghanistan has got a malfunction of the political infrastructure under Taliban rule.

In addition to conflict, climate change contributes to the global food shortage by pressuring and stunting crops. A 2022 study from Scientific Reports found that for every 1 degree Celsius deviation in temperature, there was a 1.64 percent increase in severe global food insecurity.

As a result of the food shortage, public health officials are warning that the world is on the brink of a massive humanitarian crisis. The crisis is not an isolated one and food insecurity is associated with social unrest, conflict and large-scale migration.

Immediate action is needed to provide starving and vulnerable people with good nutrition. In addition, organizations such as the International Monetary Fund are calling for long-term solutions. Open trading channelsprotecting shipments from interference during transit and being mindful of fair distribution can increase crop and fertilizer supply.

Investing in research into climate-resilient crops can also help farmers grow plants that will one day survive heat waves and droughts. And build one world grain supply can store nutrients so that they can be delivered to vulnerable populations before a crisis breaks out.

Until these ideas can be implemented, advocates are calling international aid relief what is now considered the worst food crisis in modern history.