Nearly half of Guatemalan children under the age of five are underweight, according to government data, giving the country the sixth-highest rate of malnutrition in the world. And this past year, a series of droughts, hurricanes, and the economic devastation that came with the COVID-19 pandemic has left this region—known as the dry corridor, or corredor seco—in shambles. Those who can afford to are fleeing to the United States, where the number of migrants attempting to cross the southern border has reached a 20-year high in the first six months of 2021.
A report by the Malabo Montpellier Panel calls on policymakers to rethink African food systems to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty. The report – titled Connecting the Dots: Policy Innovations for Food Systems Transformation in Africa – calls for a systems approach to the issue, where multiple sectors such as agriculture, health and the environment are considered together.
Imperial College London
Of grave concern are 23 ‘hunger hotspots’ which over the next four months are expected to face an acute level of food insecurity due to the combined economic repercussions of COVID-19, the climate crisis and fighting. “Families that rely on humanitarian assistance to survive are hanging by a thread. When we cannot reach them, that thread is cut, and the consequences are nothing short of catastrophic,” warned David Beasley, WFP Executive Director.
China is the largest food importer in the world. Although its self-sufficiency rate in rice, wheat and corn averages more than 97 percent, its demand for imported meat and poultry is increasing fast and about 85 percent of the soybeans it consumed in 2019 were imported. That said, land reform should be deepened across the country so that the small patches of land collectively owned by different families in a village, which are often left uncultivated as the farmers work in cities as migrant workers, can merge into large-scale farms to pave the way for mechanized farming operated by agricultural cooperatives of the farmers.