Broad trends in food production and prices indicate a decline in the share of people who do not have access to adequate food levels. However, the overall figures mask variation in food security among regions, countries, and income groups within countries. In 1998, per capita food consumption in 66 low-income countries is projected to fall short of 1996-98 levels ("status quo") by nearly 11 million tons, up from 8.5 million tons estimated for 1997. The gap between actual consumption and minimum nutritional requirements is expected to be even larger at 17.6 million tons. During the next decade, food gaps with respect to the status quo and nutritional targets are expected to widen further. Food consumption is projected to fall short of the nutritional requirement in 35 countries, while 47 countries are expected to face a decline in per capita consumption in 2008. The 67 countries in the study either have been or may become food aid recipients. The projections, however, exclude the availability of food aid. Therefore, depending upon future food aid availability, some or all of the projected food gaps can be eliminated.
The world's resources are adequate to produce enough food for its population for at least the next few decades. The available food, however, is not distributed evenly. In 66 low-income countries, food availability (production plus commercial imports) is projected to increase more slowly than the population growth during the next decade, leading to a decline in per capita consumption. To stabilize consumption at recently achieved levels (average of 1994-96), the projected additional food required is 8.5 million tons in 1997, increasing to 18 million tons by 2007. Many low-income countries are also unable to meet minimum nutritional requirements of their people, and this nutritional gap--the difference between food availability and nutritional requirement--is projected to grow from 15 million tons in 1997 to 24 million tons by 2007. This report projects food availability for 66 countries during the next decade. Projections are based on long-term trends and policies that are currently in place. The results are also used to project consumption by income group to analyze the severity of nutritional problems within the countries. The report includes an overview section which provides a global and regional outlook of food security. Four research papers discuss topics related to food security.