Latin America Advisor

A Daily Publication of The Dialogue

What Is Leading to Food Insecurity in Latin America?

Malnutrition in Latin America hit a 15-year high last year in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme. Corn crops in Honduras are pictured. // File Photo: Honduran Government. Malnutrition in Latin America hit a 15-year high last year in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme. Corn crops in Honduras are pictured. // File Photo: Honduran Government.

The number of undernourished people in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021 reached 56.5 million people, the highest number in more than 15 years, according to the World Food Programme’s State of Food and Nutrition in the World 2022 report. Approximately 64 percent of the Caribbean’s population experiences either moderate or severe food insecurity, while the states of food insecurity exist in about 38.9 percent of Central and South America combined. What are the key drivers for the increase in food insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean, and which countries are most affected? Why is there such a large disparity in food insecurity between the Caribbean and the rest of the region? How is food insecurity affecting Latin American and Caribbean countries’ political and economic stability? What can governments and international actors do to alleviate the rise in food insecurity in the region?

Lola Castro, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Food Programme: “The socioeconomic fallout of Covid-19, compounded by the impact of recurrent weather-related disasters (hurricanes, prolonged dry spells, floods) are the main drivers of food insecurity in the region. We have seen the impact in all the countries where we work. This has resulted in the rise of food inflation, as well as job and income losses. The loss of purchasing power has left millions of people with no access to their basic food baskets. In contrast with other countries in the region, Caribbean islands import more than 80 percent of their food needs; therefore, any spike in international prices will leave the basic food basket out of reach of…”

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The Inter-American Dialogue publishes the Latin America Advisor every business day for a distinguished membership of informed corporate leaders, scholars, and government officials invested in Latin America’s development and future. The Advisor‘s highly regarded Q&A section covers questions submitted by subscribers themselves. Commentators regularly include heads of state, business leaders, diplomats, economists, analysts, and thought leaders from around the world. Many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies subscribe to the Advisor. To subscribe click here or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at ebrand@thedialogue.org.


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Erik Brand

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