Arif Hussain is the chief economist of the World Food Program. It is his job to track food prices and other variables that contribute to food security. We last spoke on the podcast 15 months ago, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, he described some disturbing trends in which a noxious mix of conflict and climate vulnerability were driving people into hunger.
Needless to say, since January 2020, the global food security situation has gotten worse. An international alliance of food security agencies released The Global Report on Food Crises which found that the number of people facing acute food insecurity and “needing urgent life and livelihood-saving assistance” hit a five-year high last year.
We kick off this conversation discussing the report’s findings, before have a longer discussion about what, exactly, is driving this surge in food insecurity and hunger around the world today, where in the world food security is most dire — and what can be done about it.