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NextGen Magazine


NGO Calculates Cost to Effectively End Hunger Worldwide: $330 Billion Over 10 Years

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 16, 2020
The anti-hunger organization Ceres, using a combination of computer modeling and literature reviews, calculates that the world can push global hunger down below 3 percent in every country if governments and organizations spent about $33 billion a year for 10 years.

"Our modelling shows that an additional investment of USD 14 billion from donors and USD 19 billion from affected countries on average each year between now and 2030 could lift 490 million people out of hunger, reducing the prevalence of undernourishment below 3% in every country worldwide," said the report. "At the same time, the funding could double the incomes of 545 million small-scale farmers on average, and maintain greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture below the commitments made in the Paris climate agreement."

The largest amount would need to go directly to farmers in providing  training, developing climate-resilient crops and improving livestock feed. The report noted, for instance, that milk yields for cows in Africa are 20 times lower than the yields in Europe.

The next largest amount will be devoted to logistics, that is, ensuring that food can get from the farm to market, through investments in storage, transport and other infrastructure. For instance, the report noted that there is often significant loss during transportation and storage, particularly with non-grain crops that are more difficult to preserve. It also stressed the need for enterprises that support farmers by providing credit and training, buying crops, connecting farmers to processors, and offering market information.

The remainder would need to go toward "empower[ing] the excluded," that is, ensuring that the poorest are included in this effort. This would include  steps regarding social protection spending or training for rural youth, with the report noting that such interventions have limited impact on the poor if they do not have have a minimum level of income and education, as well as access to networks and resources.

As an example, the report said that farmers’ organizations are strongly associated with improvements in their income, crop yield, crop quality and environmental impact. However, the poorer a farmer is, the less likely that farmer is to join an organization, as fees to join are often prohibitively high, and they also aren’t set up to work for the poorest farmers, especially women, who are less likely to be represented at governance level because of limited time and other constraints.

The report said that the pandemic and its attendant economic damage make this issue even more important and noted that the longer people wait to address global hunger, the higher the cost will eventually be.

"Any delay in spending will not only have human costs but will also increase the total costs," the report said. "Early spending, on the other hand, allows investment in interventions that take more time—like R&D – but have a bigger payoff."