More than 800 million people in the world are hungry – report

A woman irrigates a farm. The FAO report calls for accelerating and scaling up of actions to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems. File.

The number of hungry people in the world has increased to 821 million, according to the latest report on state of food security and nutrition in the world, which indicates that one in every nine people on earth were hungry in 2017.

The 2018 report, which was released yesterday by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), shows that the number of hungry people in the world was 777 million in 2015 before rising to 815 million in 2016.

The report states that undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in almost all sub-regions of Africa, as well as in South America, whereas the undernourishment situation is stable in most regions of Asia.

In Africa, hunger is hitting 256.5 million people, meaning an increase of 13.5 million people compared to 243 million Africans who were hungry in 2016, according to FAO.

In Asia, the report says 515 million people are hungry compared to almost 520 million people in 2016. In Latin America and the Caribbean more than 42 million people were hungry against 39 million in 2017.

Changes in climate are already undermining production of major crops such as wheat, rice and maize in tropical and temperate regions and, without building climate resilience, this is expected to worsen as temperatures increase and become more extreme.

Analysis in the report shows that the prevalence and number of undernourished people tend to be higher in countries highly exposed to climate extremes.

Undernourishment is higher again when exposure to climate extremes is compounded by a high proportion of the population depending on agricultural systems that are highly sensitive to rainfall and temperature variability.  

The rise in hunger statistics over the past three years is a setback that gives an urgent warning that more concrete actions must be undertaken in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

“The alarming signs of increasing food insecurity and high levels of different forms of malnutrition are a clear warning that there is considerable work to be done to make sure we ‘leave no one behind’ on the road towards achieving the SDGs on food security and improved nutrition,” the report reads in part.

To achieve a world without hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030, the report warns, it is imperative to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems and people’s livelihoods in response to climate variability and extremes.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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