Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New UN Report: Global Hunger Is Increasing

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) just released a joint report indicating that the global economic crisis has led to a sharp increase in the number of hungry people around the world. One of the key messages in The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Economic Crises--Impacts and Lessons Learned is that "developing countries are facing declines in remittances, export earnings, foreign direct investment and foreign aid, leading to loss of employment and income. This loss of income is compounded by food prices that are still relatively high in the local markets of many poor countries. As a result, poor households have been forced to eat fewer meals and less-nutritious food, cut back on health and education expenses, and sell their assets."

The report states that 1.02 billion people worldwide are undernourished, the largest numbers of whom are residing in Asia and the Pacific and Africa. The report includes case studies on Armenia, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Zambia.

According to this BBC News article, UN agencies are encouraging wealthier nations to invest in agriculture and food aid for poorer countries despite their own economic difficulties. On Democracy Now!, Indian journalist Devinder Sharma counters this admonition. He opines that it is better if these poor countries are not dependent upon food aid but are instead assisted in developing their own food for their own citizens. He contends that international agricultural aid has caused developing nations to rely on imported food while exporting crops grown on their own soil.

You can find additional publications about world hunger on the Publications page of the FAO. For more resources about world food supply, take a look at our guide.

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