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Three compounding crises—conflict, COVID, and climate change—are giving rise to another: hunger

Food prices have hit record levels in recent months.

They had been stable for several years…

…but rose 23 percent in 2021, in part because extreme weather hurt harvests and energy costs climbed.

Then came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sending the food price index to an all-time high.


This combination of conditions contributes to a grave outlook for global hunger.

Undernourishment levels—the number of people who can’t meet long-term food consumption needs

—rose by 118 million people in 2020 after remaining largely unchanged for several years.

Current estimates now put that number at about 100 million more.

Acute hunger levels—the number of people who can’t meet short-term food consumption needs

—rose by nearly 40 million last year. Conflict was the primary driver of extreme hunger…

…and now Russia’s war is adding to the risk of hunger and starvation for many millions more.


ANDREW STANLEY is on the staff of Finance & Development.

Opinions expressed in articles and other materials are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect IMF policy.