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Source: USDA news release

The intensity of global food insecurity, indicated by a measure called the food gap, is projected to lessen over the coming decade in the world's poorest regions, even amid decreased incomes associated with pandemic-related drops in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The food gap measures how much food is needed to raise consumption at every income level to meet the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per capita per day, a minimum intake to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle.

For the four regions studied in the USDA, Economic Research Service International Food Security Assessment (IFSA), the food gap in 2020 ranged from a low of 12 percent of the daily caloric target in North Africa to 20 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Asia, income effects related to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic are estimated to have increased the food gap's share of the daily caloric target in 2020 by more than 1 percent, the most of any region.

The least impacted region was North Africa, where that share is estimated to have increased by about half a percent. Despite lower economic growth prospects for the IFSA regions associated with the pandemic, the food gap is projected to narrow by 2030.

Income growth, along with relatively stable prices for major grains and lower population growth, are contributing factors to this improvement; however, the gap is 12 percent higher than earlier estimates reported by USDA after pandemic-related revisions. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service COVID-19 Working Paper, International Food Security Assessment 2020-30: COVID-19 Update and Impacts on Food Insecurity.

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