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Food Security Assessment, 2010-2020

Published July 2010

This U.S. Department of Agriculture report found that "Food security in 70 developing countries is estimated to have improved between 2009 and 2010, due in part to economic recovery in many of these countries. The number of food-insecure people in the developing countries analyzed by ERS researchers is estimated to decrease 7.5 percent from 2009 to 882 million in 2010. The number of food-insecure people at the aggregate level will not improve much over the next decade, declining by 1 percent from 2010 to 2020. While there will be notable improvements in Asia and Latin America, the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to deteriorate after 2010.

Despite the unfavorable long-term projections, SSA’s food security situation improved between 2009 and 2010 following stronger economic growth and a continuation of the recent upward trend in food production. The number of food-insecure people in the region is estimated at 390 million in 2010, a near 12-percent decline from 2009. The distribution gap—the amount of food needed to raise consumption in each income group to meet the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per person per day—also declined, albeit negligibly. Despite the improvement, nearly half of the region’s population remains foodinsecure. In addition, while accounting for only one-quarter of the population of the 70 countries included in this study, the region is estimated to account for 44 percent of the food-insecure people.

As the global economy slowly recovers from the worldwide recession, Asia will continue to make impressive gains in improving food security as the projected number of food-insecure people is projected to decline from 433 million in 2010 to 320 million in 2020. In absolute terms, the number of food insecure in Asia is large; however, in relative terms Asia is doing better than SSA. In 2010, Asia will account for nearly 64 percent of the population of the 70 developing countries included in this report, but will account for barely half of the estimated 882 million total food-insecure people.

By 2020, the number of food-insecure people in SSA is projected to exceed 500 million out of a total population of roughly 1 billion. In other words, without any significant increase in investment or change in historical trends of major indicators, more than half of the region’s population will consume less than the nutritional target. The region’s food security position will also deteriorate relative to the other regions included in this report. In 2020, the region will account for only 27 percent of the population of the 70 countries, but it will have about a 59-percent share of the total number of food-insecure people."

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