World hunger rates drop to under 800 million people – Report

World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin CousinNUTRITIOUS FOOD IS A DAILY NECCESSITY: World Food Program Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin

NUTRITIOUS FOOD IS A DAILY NECCESSITY: World Food Program Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin

The number of people going hungry in the world has dropped to 795 million, 216 million fewer than in 1990-92 – or around one person out of every nine, according to the State of Food Insecurity in the World report released Wednesday May 27.

The report was published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

It shows that fast progress was posted in some parts of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean while large reductions were recorded in East Asia.

The results prove that inclusive economic growth, agricultural investments and social protection, along with political stability makes the elimination of hunger possible.

It further shows that the prevalence of undernourishment has declined to 12.9 percent of the population, down from 23.3 percent a quarter of a century ago.

The prevalence, measures the proportion of people who are unable to consume enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements for an active and healthy life. FAO defines hunger as being synonymous with chronic undernourishment.

In developing regions , a majority – 72 out of 129 countries monitored by FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015, with developing regions as a whole missing the target by a small margin.

Sub-Saharan Africa still holds the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world – at 23.2 percent or almost one in every four people. Extreme weather events, natural disasters, political instability and civil strife impeded progress on the continent, the report reads. At least 24 African countries currently face food crises, twice as many as in 1990.

The report indicates further that around one of every five of the world’s undernourished lives in crisis environments characterized by weak governance and acute vulnerability to death and disease.

However, it further states that, African nations that invested more in improving agricultural productivity and basic infrastructure also achieved their MDG hunger target, notably in West Africa.

“The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime. We must be the Zero Hunger generation. That goal should be mainstreamed into all policy interventions and at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda to be established this year,” FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said in a statement.

“If we truly wish to create a world free from poverty and hunger, then we must make it a priority to invest in the rural areas of developing countries where most of the world’s poorest and hungriest people live,” IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze said in a statement.

“We must work to create a transformation in our rural communities so they provide decent jobs, decent conditions and decent opportunities. We must invest in rural areas so that our nations can have balanced growth and so that the three billion people who live in rural areas can fulfill their potential,” he added.

“Men, women and children need nutritious food every day to have any chance of a free and prosperous future. Healthy bodies and minds are fundamental to both individual and economic growth, and that growth must be inclusive for us to make hunger history,” WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said.