Insecurity in the World report (known as SOFI) came out today, ahead of next week's World Food Day.
The report from FAO, WFP and IFAD has the following headlines:
Hunger numbers are stalling at the global level (867m in 2007-9 and 868m in 2010-12)
Hunger numbers for Sub-Saharan Africa are rising, and at an increasing rate:
> increasing at about 2m a year between 1991 and 2000
> about 1m a year between 2000 and 2005
> about 3.5m a year between 2005 and 2008
> about 6m a year between 2008 and 2011
These are alarming increases in level and speed of increase.
FAO has made 5 changes to methodology and has recalculated all the hunger data back to 1990. The 1bn number in the 2010 SOFI report has been quietly buried.
The biggest change in the numbers is generated by better accounting for losses of food in the retail system. Accounting for this loss increases hunger numbers substantially, especially in 1990, but not in 2010-12.
This means that hunger numbers have declined faster than previously thought and that the achievement of the MDG target, based on this indicator, is closer than previously thought.
The odd thing is that for the "developing world" the hunger estimates were 870m before the 2007-8 food price spikes (i.e. in 2005-7) and are lower after the food price spikes (853m in 2009 and 852m thereafter).
This suggests the food price spikes did the most damage in sub-Saharan Africa, but this is also a little odd given that this is where the translation of world to national prices is weaker, on average, due to lower levels of global integration.
So, at first blush, the report is a confusing mix of good and bad news.
P.S. Congratulations to FAO for improving the methodology.