Nairobi: As Africa marked the  Africa Day of Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) on October 30th,  the supply and price of food has been cited as the top issue of concern amongst people polled in 13 countries in a survey conducted by Stack Data Strategy for the Hungry for Action campaign.

The survey asked respondents from 13 countries including three in Africa – Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa as well as Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – to rank eight pressing global issues in order of concern.
Across the 13 countries, ’supply and price of food’ had the highest average ranking, with 20% saying it was their top concern, followed by government corruption (17%), unemployment (16%), rising energy costs (12%), conflict (11%) heatwaves (10%) wealth inequality (8%) and the rise of authoritarianism (6%).

Overall, 84% of respondents had some level of concern regarding the accessibility of food for themselves and their families over the next six months, with 41% of respondents expressing a high level of concern.

Concern was most acute in the African countries surveyed: 72% of respondents in Kenya, 71% in Nigeria and 57% in South Africa said they were ‘very concerned’ about the availability and affordability of food for their families over the next six months.

Respondents in four G7 countries – Canada, France, Japan, and the US – also ranked the supply and price of food as the issue they were most concerned about. In the United States, 41% of respondents reported they were ‘very concerned’ about food availability and affordability. 

“This survey should serve as a wakeup call to our leaders that people across the globe are extremely concerned about the supply and price of food,” said Chilufya Chileshe, of the Hungry for Action campaign. “Leaders need to act together now to ensure people can afford and access nutritious food, and to transform our broken food system.”

The survey also asked respondents their views on what had caused the global food crisis. Climate change was the top reason cited, followed by conflict and weak leadership. In Kenya, which recently hosted the Africa Climate Summit, 83% of respondents identified climate change as a major factor in the global food crisis.

The survey is published ahead of critical opportunities to tackle the global food crisis, including the UK-hosted global food security summit on 20 November,  the COP28 climate talks in the United Arab Emirates, which start at the end of November,  next year’s Italian-led G7 and Brazilian-led G20 meetings and the African Union Summit.

In Africa, 282 million people are hungry, according to the recent State of Food Security and Nutrition report.  A much larger proportion of the population in Africa faces hunger compared to the other regions of the world – nearly 20 per cent compared with 8.5 per cent in Asia.

2023 marks 20 years since African Leaders developed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – to enhance agricultural production and bring about food security on the continent. This was a critical step in recognising how important the sector is for economic growth and to reduce poverty but only one country – Rwanda is on track to achieving the commitments.  The Hungry for Action campaign calls on African leaders to meet that commitment and allocate at least 10% of the national budget to the agricultural sector, ensuring sufficient food production and development resources.

Dr Babafemi Oyewole, CEO of the Pan African Farmers Organization, said:  

“We can produce enough food for everyone. What we need is the political will and an enabling policy environment to turn things around. Farmers are on the frontline of the food crisis and urgently need support and long-lasting solutions so that we can provide for our families and nourish our communities. We are calling on our leaders to step up and fulfil the commitments they have made to Africa’s food and nutrition security.”

The campaign also calls on political leaders to prioritise tackling the food crisis and agree on a fully funded global plan to end the cycle of crises. Specific measures the campaign is urging are: 

 * Fully funding the UN’s humanitarian appeals and doubling climate adaptation funding for lower-income countries, while also cancelling their debts and reforming the multilateral financial system to unlock vital funds. 

* Investing in the smallholder farmers, health workers and communities on the frontlines of the food crisis, including through social protection programmes.

* Fixing the broken global food system by supporting more sustainable farming, diversifying crops, improving nutrition and access to a healthy diet, and reducing food waste. 

The survey was carried out in August and September 2023 and involved 26,033 participants across the 13 countries.

Notes to editors:

  1. Full Survey results are available here.
  2. The Hungry for Action campaign brings together NGOs, advocacy groups, campaigners and civil society from across the world, to urge policymakers to act now to avert famine and deliver bold, long-lasting and coordinated solutions to fix a broken food system.

For media requests and spokespeople interviews please contact Alice.

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