Urgent Need to Strengthen Food Systems as Multiple Crises Drive Up Numbers of Hungry People in Sudan

Photo: WFP/Damilola Onafuwa
Published October 16, 2020

Khartoum – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today joins its sister agencies in calling for global action to improve the systems that produce and distribute the food we eat, so that they can better withstand shocks including the COVID-19 pandemic that can spark alarming surges in the level of hunger in the world.

In many countries, including Sudan, the socio-economic effects of the pandemic – particularly loss of earnings and remittances – are heightening existing threats linked to conflict and climate change. The number of acutely hungry people in the world could increase by more than 100 million this year, according to U.N. World Food Programme estimates. For particularly fragile countries, a slide towards famine is a real risk.

“‘The world produces enough food for everyone so it’s a problem not of scarcity but of access to nutritious and affordable food,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley,  “Small-scale farmers in developing nations need support so they can grow crops in a more sustainable way, then store and transport their produce to markets, and ultimately improve their own livelihoods. When food moves from the farm, along the supply chain and onto people’s plates in a fair and efficient way, then everyone benefits.”

The U.N. World Food Programme, which last week won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to fight hunger, has unparalleled experience in buying and distributing food. Every year, the U.N. World Food Programme increases the amount of food it procures locally from small-scale farmers, providing training in post-harvest storage and in how to access markets. The aim is to build dynamic food systems which contribute to community-based agricultural growth and the strengthening of national economies.

The need for concerted action to improve agricultural production while enhancing global supply chains and ending food waste is captured in this year’s World Food Day theme: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.”  The three Rome-based agencies – the U.N. World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – are calling for sustainable investment in food systems to achieve healthy diets for all. Without massive improvements in the food supply chain, many fragile nations are set to become increasingly vulnerable to financial volatility and climate shocks.

In Sudan, food insecurity remains alarmingly high with some 9.6 million people estimated to be food insecure. This is the highest figure ever recorded in Sudan. Sudan has also witnessed historic flooding in recent months that has devastated homes, destroyed vast swaths of farmlands and crops, and affected more than 875,000 people.

The economic crisis and inflation are also posing challenges to food security in Sudan. The average price of the local food basket has increased by nearly 200 per cent compared to 2019, making it even harder for families to put food on their plates.

“Combined, these multiple crises can further increase food insecurity and risk pushing millions of people into poverty. But if we take concerted action now, we can build a future we want – a world free of hunger. We remain committed to working with all our partners in Sudan, including the Government, to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030,” said U.N. World Food Programme Representative and Country Director in Sudan Dr. Hameed Nuru.

No one government or organization can achieve these goals alone. More than ever, there is a need for global solidarity to help all people, and especially the most vulnerable, to confront the crises facing the planet – multiple conflicts, climate change and COVID-19.

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The U.N. World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter: @WFPUSA @wfp_mena or @WFP_Sudan

For more information, contact:

  • Leni Kinzli, WFP/Khartoum, Tel: +249 912002000, Ext 2125, Mobile: +249 91 722 1269, leni.kinzli@wfp.org
  • Abdulaziz Abdulmomin, WFP/Khartoum, Tel: +249912002000, Ext 2123, Mobile: +249 91 216 7055, abdulaziz.abdulmomin@wfp.org