2009-10-16 15:46:43

Record 1 billion go hungry

(October 16, 2009) A record 1 billion people worldwide are hungry and a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization, F.A.O., says the number will increase if governments do not spend more on agriculture. According to the report by the United Nations’ food agency, 30 countries now require emergency aid, including 20 in Africa. The trend continues despite a goal set by world leaders nine years ago to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015. Spiraling food prices have added to hardships, especially in the world's most desperate countries where the poor could barely afford a single daily meal to begin with. The inflated prices which caused riots across the globe last year, have stabilized but remain comparatively high, especially in the developing world, said F.A.O. director-general Jacques Diouf. After worldwide gains in the fight against hunger in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of undernourished people started climbing in 1995, reaching 1.02 billion this year amid escalating food prices and the global financial meltdown, the FAO said in its report on Wednesday. The world's most populous region, Asia and the Pacific, has the largest number of hungry people - 642 million, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa with 265 million. Diouf said world leaders are starting to understand that investment in agriculture must be increased.

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