Nearly 1 Billion of the World’s Population Goes Hungry

December 10, 2008 at 3:55 am Leave a comment

jacques-diouf-560.jpgHigh food prices have plunged an additional 40 million people into hunger this year, pushing the overall number of needy to almost 1 billion, a U.N. agency said Tuesday. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization put the number at 963 million.

“This sad reality should not be acceptable at the dawn of the 21st century,” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said at the presentation of the State of Food Insecurity report. “Not enough has been done to reduce hunger and not enough is being done to prevent more people (from) becoming hungry.”
Even though prices of major cereals fell by over 50 percent from their peaks earlier this year, they remain high compared with previous years, especially in local markets, the agency said.
Small farmers could not increase production and take advantage of the higher prices because they lack access to water, seeds, fertilizers and markets, the agency said.
“For millions of people in developing countries, eating the minimum amount of food every day to live an active and healthy life is a distant dream,” said Hafez Ghanem, the organization’s assistant director-general.
According to the report, nearly two-thirds of the world’s hungry live in Asia, while in sub-Saharan Africa one person in three is chronically hungry.
Those who suffer most from the rises in prices – and are forced to eat less and lower quality food – are households that have no land to rely on and are headed by females, the agency said.
The agency also warned that reduced demand in industrialized countries due to the global financial crisis could threaten exporters in developing countries. Export volumes are projected to grow by 4.9 percent in 2009, down from 6.3 percent in 2007, the report said.
Investments and other capital flows, including development aid, are also at risk, the agency said.
Source: Miami Herald

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