The report World Food Assistance 2018: Preventing Food Crises was published by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in May 2018.
Chronic hunger is increasing around the world, and food crises are spreading and intensifying. The report examines these crises, asking what causes them to break out, what determines their scale and how they might be prevented.
The authors analysed a dataset covering 152 countries between 2009 and 2015 in two stages. In the first stage they examined the probability of a food crisis in all 152 countries was examined. The presence of WFP food assistance was taken as an indicator of a food crisis. The aim was to identify factors influencing the probability that a country will need WFP food assistance, which in turn sheds light on causes of food crisis outbreaks.
The second stage focused on the scale of food crises. Only the 77 countries receiving food assistance from WFP are included, and the aim was to identify the factors that influence the level of food assistance expenditures and hence show what determines the scale of the underlying food crisis.
They found that the huge amount of money in food assistance costs could be saved by the taking of preventative action. An end to violent conflict – one of the main drivers of hunger – could reduce food assistance costs by up to 50 per cent per annum.
While ending conflict is vital, preventing food crises also requires long-term investment in education, infrastructure and economic growth, according to the authors. Increases in per capita income help countries limit the scale of food crises. Even low-income countries can prevent crises by making these investments.
Read more and download report: World Food Assistance 2018