One in eight of world's population hungry, says UN
Number of people without enough to eat falls by 26 million01 October, 12:16
The report, entitled the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2013), said that 842 million people suffered from chronic hunger in the 2011-13 period, meaning that they were not getting enough food to lead active, healthy lives.
The figures was down on the estimated 868 million suffering chronic hunger in the 2011-13 period, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Since the 1990-92 period, the total number of undernourished people in developing countries has fallen by 17% from 995.5 million to 826.6 million, the UN agenies said. The report said that, while improvements had been uneven, developing regions as a whole had made significant progress towards reaching the target of halving the proportion of hungry people by 2015. This target was agreed internationally as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). If the average annual decline since 1990 continues to 2015, the prevalence of undernourishment will reach a level close to the MDG hunger target, the agencies forecast. However, the more ambitious target set at the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) to halve the absolute number, rather than the proportion, of hungry people by 2015 remains out of reach at global level, the agencies predicted. FAO, IFAD and WFP urged countries "to make considerable and immediate additional efforts" to meet the MDG and WFS targets. "With a final push in the next couple of years, we can still reach the MDG target," wrote the heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP, José Graziano da Silva, Kanayo F. Nwanze and Ertharin Cousin in their foreword to the report. "Policies aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and increasing food availability, especially when smallholder farmers are targeted, can achieve hunger reduction even where poverty is widespread.
"When they are combined with social protection and other measures that increase the incomes of poor families, they can have an even more positive effect and spur rural development, by creating vibrant markets and employment opportunities, resulting in equitable economic growth".
The report said that while economic growth is key for progress in hunger reduction, it may not lead to more and better jobs and incomes for all, unless policies are adopted specifically targetting the poor, especially in rural areas. "In poor countries, hunger and poverty reduction will only be achieved with growth that is not only sustained, but also broadly shared," the report said. photo: FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva