One in every eight people suffers from hunger: UN

01 Oct 2013 06:50
WINDHOEK, 01 OCT (NAMPA) - One in every eight people have suffered from chronic hunger, or not getting enough food to lead healthy lives over the past two years (2011 to 2013), the United Nations (UN) food agencies said on Tuesday.
The number is however down from 868 million to 842 million people since 2010, according to the 2013 State of Food Insecurity in the World report published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The report noted that developing regions as a whole have registered significant progress towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) One, which deals with eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
“If the average annual decline of the past 21 years continues to (the year) 2015, the prevalence of undernourishment will reach a level close to the target. Meeting it would require considerable and immediate additional efforts,” it stressed.
Growth can raise incomes and reduce hunger, but higher economic growth may not reach everyone. It may not lead to more and better jobs for all, unless policies specifically target the poor, especially those 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.
Despite overall progress, marked differences across regions persist. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, with modest progress in recent years. Western Asia shows no progress, while southern Asia and northern Africa show slow progress. Significant reductions in both the number of people who are undernourished and the prevalence of undernourishment have occurred in most countries of eastern and south- eastern Asia, as well as in Latin America.
Price and income swings can significantly affect the poor and hungry, according to the report. However, recent data on global and regional food consumer price indices suggest that price hikes in primary food markets had a limited effect on consumer prices, and that price swings in consumer prices were more muted than those faced by producers.
“When prices rise, however, consumers often shift to cheaper, less-nutritious foods, heightening the risks of micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition, which can have long-term adverse effects on people’s health, development and productivity,” added the report.