ActionAid says 3.7 million Italians needed food aid in 2012
Problem of hunger in Italy increasing, warns group15 October, 17:52
ActionAid sounded the alarm as part of a new campaign "Operation Hunger" that found as many as 3.7 million Italians had to seek food aid last year.
And internationally, as many as 842 million people face hunger even though there is more than enough food being produced each year to feed the world's population, the group said.
The imbalance is created by a system of production and distribution that does not work, ActionAid said at a news conference.
In fact, it said, about 75% of people who do not have enough to eat live in countries where much of the world's food is produced.
In Italy in 2011, 13.1% of households said they could not afford to eat a proper meal each day - an increase from the 6.9% reporting the same problem one year earlier, according to data provided by ActionAid.
As well, more than six out of every 100 Italians ate at soup kitchens, the group added.
In 2012, a 9% increase in the number of households seeking food aid was reported, for a total of 3.7 million people receiving assistance.
A significant number of those recipients were children under five and senior citizens.
"We live in a world where there are those who eat too little, those who eat too much and get sick, and (those) who even speculate on the financial markets on food prices," said Marco Da Ponte, general secretary of ActionAid.
"The challenge is to build a new democracy where food dominates not only the market, but all the actors who are involved".