Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Over 820 mln people hungry in 2018

More than a quarter of the world’s population now struggles to eat “safe nutritious and sufficient food” according to the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report. — AFP  File Hunger report: Food security worsens in South Asia, UN flags India’s unemployment as possible cause
Anna Jefferson | 18 July, 2019, 22:11

After almost a decade of progress, the number of people who suffer from hunger has slowly increased over the past three years, with about one in every nine people globally suffering from hunger today, the United Nations said in a new report released on Monday.

The report was produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children's Fund (Unicef), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program. He noted healthy and fresh foods also need to be promoted and access to them needs to be increased for some populations.

The report said that globally, hunger is increasing in many countries where economic growth is lagging, particularly in middle-income countries and those that rely heavily on global primary commodity trade.

The report said that an estimated 820 million people across the world did not have enough to eat in 2018, up from 811 million in the previous year, which is the third year of increase in a row, underscoring the enormous challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

The report is part of tracking progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 Zero Hunger, which aims to end hunger, promote food security and end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

José Graziano da Silva is Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

'And this trend takes more time and is more complex [to resolve] than hunger'.

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The number of undernourished people in India reduced from 253.9 million in 2004-'06 to 194.4 million in 2016-'18, the report said. At the same time, the report notes that obesity and excess weight are both on the rise in all regions, with school-age children and adults particularly affected.

'We were anticipating big hunger in Asia. But a world where no one goes hungry remains an enormous challenge. Hunger is not a problem the world should be confronting in the 21st century.

Speaking of the rise in worldwide hunger, Mr Beasley added: 'That's a bad trend.

He warned that extremist groups are using hunger and control over food supplies as a weapon to divide communities or recruit new members.

Faced with this alarming picture, Carlo Petrini, global president of Slow Food and ambassador of the Fame Zero program for FAO, commented: "For the fourth year running, the report shows a worsening situation, which means that we are seeing a trend". The report points out that economic and social policies to counteract the effects of adverse economic cycles, while avoiding cuts in essential services such as healthcare and education have not been successful.

Robin Willoughby, head of food and climate policy at Oxfam GB, said women are hit hardest by the rise in hunger. This sort of hunger has lasting impacts on its victims, especially children, who suffer from stunting and wasting. The authors said a "structural transformation" was needed to include the poorest people in the world, a move they said would require "integrating food security and nutrition concerns into poverty reduction efforts" while tackling gender inequality and the exclusion of certain social groups.

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