Number of world’s hungry drops to 925m

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Agriculture/Poverty

Stringent agricultural policies coupled with heavy investment in agriculture in Asian countries have lowered the number of the hungry in 2010 to 925 million people around the globe down from 1.023 billion in 2009.This was contained in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) flagship report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World” (SOFI) which is yet to be jointly published by the FAO and World Food Program (WFP) in October.

However, in spite of the 98 million drop in hunger, the FAO warns that the number still remains unacceptable high. “But with a child dying every six seconds because of undernourishment related problems, hunger remains the world’s largest tragedy and scandal,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. “This is absolutely unacceptable.”

Other economists have also warned that volatile wheat prices in some parts of the world are affecting other staple grains such as maize and rice, and could lead to serious setbacks.
MDGs achievement difficult

The continuing high global hunger level “makes it extremely difficult to achieve not only the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) but also the rest of the MDGs,” Diouf warned.

“The achievement of the international hunger reduction target is at serious risk,” he added, further noting that recent increases in food prices, if they persist, could hamper efforts to further reduce the numbers of the world’s hungry.

“Vigorous and urgent action by nations and the world has been effective in helping to halt galloping hunger numbers,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. “But this is no time to relax.  We must keep hunger on the run to ensure stability and to protect lives and dignity.”

Yukiko Omura, Vice President of IFAD, said, “the world’s hungry are not just numbers. They are people — poor women and men struggling to bring up their children and give them a better life; and they are youth trying to build a future for themselves. It is ironic that the majority of them actually live in rural areas of developing countries. Indeed, over 70 percent of the world’s extremely poor — those people who live on less than US$ one a day — live in rural areas. That’s a billion people, and four out of five of them are farmers to some extent or the other.”
Vietnam meets MDG ahead of 2015

A new Oxfam report, according to IRIN, highlights Vietnam’s performance in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger and reducing poverty five years ahead of the 2015 target.

“Vietnam’s track record is one of the best in the world. They are absolutely a role model within East Asia and more broadly in the world,” Steve Price-Thomas, Oxfam’s Vietnam country director told IRIN on 14 September from Hanoi.

From the report, Vietnam has cut hunger and reduced poverty from about 58 percent of the population in 1993 to just 18 percent today. “To put this in perspective, this means that since 1993 roughly 6,000 people per day have been pulled out of hunger poverty,” Price-Thomas said.

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