Food security and nutrition

Syrian granddaughter and grandfather eating watermelon
In Syria, Abu Goubran, with support from Mercy Corps, improved his farming practices and dramatically increased his yields.

Despite recent progress, global hunger is on the rise. The World Food Program estimates that more than 270 million people around the world are either at risk of becoming or already are acutely food-insecure largely due to the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic. That is nearly double the number of people in 2019.

Conflict, extreme weather, and economic shocks—including those from the COVID‑19 pandemic—continue to be the main drivers of food insecurity globally. Many of these events are interconnected, creating a cycle of unfavorable conditions.

The pandemic has disrupted food supply chains at the same time as millions of people have lost their jobs. High food prices coupled with reduced incomes mean that more families are eating less and worse quality food. These factors have dramatically exacerbated already worsening trends in global hunger.

Food insecurity, and the malnutrition that often comes with it, causes poor physical and cognitive development, increases vulnerability to disease, limits productivity, and impedes economic development. A lack of nutritious food wreaks havoc on families and communities, causing a lifetime of challenges.

  • 3.7m

    people reached through our food security work last year
  • 270m

    people at risk of becoming food-insecure across the world
  • 30%

    increase in global food prices in the last year


We work with communities, local organizations, and authorities to identify the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition. We use this knowledge to develop comprehensive and inclusive programming aimed at improving nutrition and achieving food security.
We don’t just improve people’s access to nutritious food—we also address the underlying issues that keep people from accessing it and making healthy use of it in the first place. When we include food security and nutrition as part of our programming, whether it’s dealing with conflict, climate change, or another issue, we strengthen the foundation of well-being upon which people can build secure, productive, and just communities.
For more technical details on our food security and nutrition programs, please download our approach document.