Goal 2 aims to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, and to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. Although global food production has increased faster than the rate of global population growth, nearly 800 million people suffer from stunting or malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition are global issues. Even where there is rarely actual scarcity of food, unhealthy diets and lack of access to nutritious food pose significant health challenges. After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger has been on the rise since 2014.
The majority of undernourished people live in developing or conflict-affected countries. Africa and South-East Asia account for the majority of the world’s hungry and stunted children. 60% of malnourished people in the world live in countries affected by conflict. Globally, obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, and more than 1.9 billion adults and 41 million children under age five were overweight in 2016.
Opportunities & Challenges
We need a paradigm shift in the way we think about global food systems to produce and distribute the healthy food we need using less land and fewer inputs (e.g. water, fertilizer, fossil fuels) and creating decent and attractive livelihoods across the value chain. To do this, we need to consciously design efficiency into the food system as a whole and to recognize the complex interplay between the health of natural systems, human health and well-being, food production and distribution practices and their role as principal drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Reducing food waste across the value chain: Roughly one third of all food is lost or wasted each year – $680 billion worth in industrialized countries and $310 billion worth in developing countries. In the latter, 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels, while more than 40% of losses in industrialized countries occur at retail and with consumers. While different solutions are needed in these countries, reducing food waste could feed more people, lessen the burden on agricultural systems and reduce climate change impacts. For example, food currently lost in Africa could feed 300 million people.
Increasing agricultural productivity: Feeding a growing population will require farmers to produce more food with less land and fewer resources. According to National Geographic, nearly all new food production over the next 25 years must come from existing agricultural land, and improving nutrient and water supplies where yields are lowest could result in a 58% increase in global food production. Smallholder farms in particular require access to advice and services which enable efficient, sustainable use of resources to improve yields and farm income. This might include precision farming methods tailored for smallholder needs and the ability to track inputs for optimal production and improve access to markets. Smart systems such as integrated water irrigation and rainwater harvesting can benefit small and large-scale farms, provided that investment and training required for successful implementation and ongoing maintenance is made readily available on enabling terms.
Developing resilient practices: Recent estimates place national cereal grain production losses due to extreme weather at roughly 10% annually. Preparing for climate change related impacts will require more resilient agricultural practices and investments in relevant infrastructure and technologies, including databases for genomes of diverse livestock and resilient and diverse crops. There is a growing body of evidence that scaling agro-ecological practices could drive significant progress against multiple Goals. While the science and practice of agroecology is not dependent on digital technologies for successful implementation, online communities of practice and e-commerce solutions will be central to sharing best practice, enabling implementation at scale and enabling smallholders to access markets directly.
Educating on nutrition, health and diet: Supporting healthy nutrition for children and mothers is a particular priority. Globally, 6% of children under five years in 2016 were overweight.
smallholder farmers are going to need support from capital and technology to help facilitate a whole generation to change behaviours in crop agriculture in the global south.Marc Diaz, TNC
For large food companies to leverage big data analytics instead of piloting discrete projects, we will need strategic partnerships with technology companies and investment in solutions. breaking down silos and creating partnerships with new sectors can accelerate success.Dave Stangis, Campbell Soup Company
Technology in action
Improved famine prediction networks: Satellites and groundbased sensors in oceans, rivers and farms can forecast the drivers of food insecurity with increasing accuracy. High-resolution imaging informs farmers of ideal grazing locations in remote regions and guides business decisions. At the farmer level, services like Esoko send daily market pricing information to farmers in 10 different countries, while tools like the Rice Crop Manager from the International Rice Research Institute are used by extension agents in five countries to help them better understand farmer needs and necessary investments for greater yields.
Climate adaptation technologies: The CHAI program uses mobile tools to gather weekly crop and livestock market information and disseminate climate adaptation information in local languages to vulnerable communities. aWhere developed a global agronomic weather database with 1.6 million virtual weather stations to monitor weather events at 9km intervals and highlight ‘pocket droughts’ to target relief areas.Get Involved