Food Crises Intensifying Because of Climate Change and Conflict

(Bloomberg) -- Global food crises are poised to worsen in some areas as conflict and climate change curb farm production and access to staples, the United Nations and European Union warned.

Food crises are increasingly determined by complex causes such as conflict, extreme climatic shocks and high prices of staple foods, often happening at the same time, the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme and EU said in a report Thursday.

Conflict will remain a major driver of food insecurity in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, while drought is likely to worsen crop and livestock output, increasing food insecurity in countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, they said.

"Food crises are likely to become more acute, persistent and complex given current trends and their root causes with devastating effects on the lives of millions of people," Neven Mimica, EU commissioner for international cooperation and development, said in a statement.

Almost 124 million people in 51 countries and territories faced acute food insecurity or worse last year, and required urgent humanitarian action, the report said. The numbers affected by acute food insecurity rose by 11 million last year, it said.

Extreme climate events –- mainly drought -- were the main triggers of food crises in 23 countries, while conflict continued to be the main driver of acute food insecurity in 18 nations. The report defines acute food insecurity as hunger so severe that it poses an immediate threat to lives or livelihoods.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.