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Publication | 11 May 2021

Stories from Africa: Changing lives through diversified healthy foods

Global Food and Nutrition Security

Unfortunately, a healthy diet has become an unaffordable luxury for close to 1 billion Africans, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report. Globally, the cost of a healthy diet is above the international poverty line, meaning that people earning less than USD 1.90 per day cannot afford to eat adequate calories and nutrients from diverse food groups. Compared to other regions, this affordability crisis poses the greatest challenge in Africa. COVID-19 has compounded the problem by disrupting food supply chains and livelihoods, to different extents across the continent. Ultimately, it has meant some households are facing increased difficulties in accessing nutritious foods. That’s not all. At the height of the pandemic, movement restrictions meant fewer customers at fruit and vegetable markets in some urban centres, causing fresh produce to go to waste. Fishmongers faced similar problems. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa had the highest prevalence of undernourishment - more than twice the global average - and the fastest growth in the number of hungry people compared to other regions. If recent trends persist, Africa will overtake Asia to become the region with the highest number of undernourished people, accounting for half of the total in 2030. Bold actions – in communities, parliaments and internationally – are needed to transform food systems, make healthy diets affordable and drive progress towards the realization of SDG 2. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s work in Africa is driven by these aims, and there are a lot of winning interventions that are bringing hope and better nutrition to many communities. This edition of Stories from Africa highlights FAO’s cross-cutting work on nutrition: from micro-gardens in Senegal to innovative farming techniques in Eritrea, and from raising chickens in Cameroon to promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Rwanda. These hope-filled stories show that through hard work, innovation and partnerships, ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition is still possible despite the global challenges.