News / Health

FAO: Global Decline in Hunger

An Indian child eats midday meal organized by Andhra Pradesh government at a shanty area in Hyderabad, India, Jan. 11, 2012.
An Indian child eats midday meal organized by Andhra Pradesh government at a shanty area in Hyderabad, India, Jan. 11, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Selah Hennessy
— The number of people going hungry around the world has declined over the past two decades, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) 2012 report on food insecurity.  But the report says in some regions -- including much of sub-Saharan Africa -- the numbers are shooting up.  
 
The State of Food Insecurity in the World is a yearly hunger report published by the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program.
 
Percentage of global population undernourished. Source: FAOPercentage of global population undernourished. Source: FAO
x
Percentage of global population undernourished. Source: FAO
Percentage of global population undernourished. Source: FAO
At a news conference in Rome Tuesday, FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said 870 million people are hungry, which is a lower estimate than the organization has made in the last few years.

"We need to recognize that this number is still too high," said Da Silva. "One in eight people around the world are still hungry in a world of plenty that has enough food to feed all."

In 2009, the organization had estimated that a total of 1 billion people were hungry worldwide.  Now the FAO has changed the way it collects data and says that figure was an over-estimate.
 
By re-tallying the data since 1990, the organization found that during the past 20 years, the number of hungry has actually gone down by more than 100 million.
 
Da Silva says that is good news.  But since 2007, progress has been slowing.

"Several factors can explain that, most important the economic slowdown, which means less jobs and lower incomes," said Da Silva. "And also the high level of food prices and especially food price volatility that we have seen in the last years, which affects the poorest on the consumer side and the production side also."

The report also shows that progress is imbalanced, with some regions making huge leaps forward and others taking steps back.
 
In East Asia, the number of undernourished people has gone down by more than 80 million in the last 20 years.  In Sub-Saharan Africa, the numbers have gone up by more than 60 million.
 
Kostas Stamoulis is director of the Agricultural Development Economics Division of FAO.  He says the new system for tallying hunger rates means the statistics are more reliable.  Stamoulis says the new methodology is based on a range of new figures, including updated population data, new statistics on calorie requirements, and better estimates on the amount of food that is actually available for consumption, rather than what is produced.

"FAO has the mandate and the responsibility to bring to its membership and the world community in general figures on hunger that reflect the latest progress on methodology and the latest available data," said Stamoulis. "So improving the way we calculate hunger, which is not something that was done in a short period of time, should enhance our credibility and should enhance the credibility of the data which we report."

Eight hundred 52-million of those who are hungry live in developing countries, the majority in South and East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid