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Ending hunger: the role of agri-food financing
Too little investment had been directed towards long-term improvements in food production, with less than 7.5 per cent of overseas aid spent on research and innovation to tackle the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in 2021, according to the report Ending hunger: the role of agri-food financing, published in April 2023. Almost half of overseas development assistance (ODA) for food and agriculture was spent on food aid.
Analysis carried out by Economist Impact with the global agrifoods-focused research partnership CGIAR showed that increases in development funding alone had been insufficient to bring down food insecurity, with almost 670 million people projected to face hunger by 2030.
The report highlighted an estimated funding gap of USD 33-50 billion a year, of which at least USD 14 billion would need to come from ODA. Among its recommendations was a reform of international financing institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including a reallocation of unused currency reserves known as Special Drawing Rights from high-income countries to low-income countries.
To increase the volume and impact of funding for more resilient food systems, the report recommended scaling up ODA, tapping new sources of private sector funding, and maximising existing investments.
Experts emphasised the disproportionate impact of systemic improvements in agriculture on reducing hunger. For example, a single percentage point increase in annual growth of agricultural production in Nigeria has been found to lift six million people out of poverty. Similarly, giving small-scale farmers modern storage equipment – such as hermetic silos and storage bags – can reduce food loss by 40 per cent, ensuring that more food reaches supply chains.
Read more on the CGIAR website