The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2020

Transforming food systems for affordable healthy diets

A demonstration of fresh fruit and vegetables at a local healthy house cooking in the village Khan Pur Baga Sher, Punjab Pakistan.


This joint report is issued annually by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. It presents the latest estimates on food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition at the global and regional levels. The 2020 edition continues to signal that significant challenges remain in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms.

Almost 690 million people around the world went hungry in 2019. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. As progress in fighting hunger stalls, the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems. While it is too early to assess the full impact of the lockdowns and other containment measures, at least another 83 million to 132 million people may go hungry in 2020. If recent trends continue, the Zero Hunger target of the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved by 2030.

The report urges the transformation of food systems to reduce the cost of nutritious foods and increase the affordability of healthy diets. The study calls on governments to:

  • Mainstream nutrition in their approaches to agriculture
  • Work to cut cost-escalating factors in the production, storage, transport, distribution and marketing of food, including reducing inefficiencies, and food loss and waste
  • Support local small-scale producers to grow and sell more nutritious foods, and secure their access to markets
  • Prioritize children's nutrition as the category in greatest need
  • Foster behaviour change through education and communication
  • Embed nutrition in national social protection systems and investment strategies.


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