A new study says food insecurity in Jamaica has increased.
The worsening situation has been linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service revealed that 12.8% of the Jamaican population is now food insecure, equating to 400,000 people.
This is double pre-COVID-19 projections and an increase of 100,000 persons over revised projections made during the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, the USDA released preliminary projections that 200,000 Jamaicans would be food insecure by the end of 2020.
By the end of the year, it said the socio-economic impact of the pandemic had caused the actual number of persons suffering from food insecurity to exceed pre-pandemic estimates by 100 per cent, primarily affecting female-headed households and homes with at least one child.
The World Food Programme COVID-19 Food Security and Livelihoods Impact Survey, published in September 2020, further highlighted the nature of Jamaica's food insecurity during the pandemic, with 70 per cent of respondents reporting difficulties eating enough during the crisis.
One in three survey respondents reported skipping meals or eating less, and 1 in 10 reported going a full day without food.
Respondents indicated a reduction in household food stocks, with 20 per cent reporting no food at home.
The survey confirmed that food insecurity in Jamaica was primarily driven by COVID-19 restrictions and economic conditions as opposed to supply-side factors.