2021 China and global food policy report: rethinking agrifood systems for the post-COVID world

During the past several decades, significant progress has been made in reducing global hunger and malnutrition. The number of people suffering malnutrition, however, is rising again. The hidden costs and externalities in the agrifood systems are among the major contributors to various economic, social, and public health crises including food insecurity, zoonotic diseases, climate change, and malnutrition. Compounding the ongoing challenges facing the global agrifood systems, the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in 2020, has intensified food insecurity and malnutrition in many parts of the world. Global food price indexes increased by more than 27.3 percent from the second half of 2020 to March 2021. Moreover, with many people losing their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak and therefore facing a dramatic income decrease, the number of people confronted with food crises and extreme poverty increased significantly. Furthermore, the outbreak and prevalence of COVID-19 also increased regional inequalities in global food security, especially in Africa and the Middle East.