Survey finds sharp increase in food insecurity in the Caribbean

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An estimated 2.8 million people or nearly 40 percent of the population of English-
the speaking Caribbean is food insecure, 1 million more than in April 2020, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).

Severe food insecurity continues to rise in the region, with the current figure being 72% higher than in April 2020.

Highlighting the lasting impact of the pandemic, two years later, results show deterioration in food consumption and diets, with 25% of respondents eating less
favorite foods, 30% skip meals or eat less than usual and 5% go a whole day without eating in the week preceding the survey.

“Having the ability to assess the impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods and food security of over 20,000 people interviewed over the past two years has provided the CARICOM Secretariat with invaluable data that is being used to inform short- and medium-term regional priorities,” said Shaun Baugh, Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development Program Manager at the CARICOM Secretariat.

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High food prices continue to affect people’s ability to afford nutritious food, with 93% of respondents reporting higher food prices, up from 59% in April 2020.

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine is expected to create an even deeper impact on the cost of basic goods and services in the Caribbean.

“A region dependent on imports, the Caribbean continues to feel the socio-economic pressure of COVID-19 which is now aggravated by the conflict in Ukraine. With most COVID-19 assistance programs over, many families are expected to face an even greater challenge meeting their basic food and other essential needs in the months ahead,” said Regis Chapman, Representative WFP and Country Director for the Caribbean Multi-Country Office.

“In the short to medium term, pressure is mounting on governments to find solutions that allow families to meet their basic needs. Innovation in agri-food systems and regional supply chains, coupled with continued support for the most vulnerable households, will be key to improving the resilience of regional food systems so that prices can be kept as stable as possible.

In addition to the latest survey results, an interactive dashboard allows you to compare different rounds of surveys and across countries. It also provides data on the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods, market access and food security by country in the Caribbean.

CARICOM, WFP and other partners continue to work together to increase resilience to shocks through more effective, sustainable and responsive disaster management, social protection and food systems to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people. affected by crises.

The survey was supported by the European Union and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of Humanitarian Assistance.

Source: United Nations World Food Programme. Headline Photo – Food Distribution Stock Image

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Michael M. Tomlin