More than 820 million people worldwide were under-nourished in 2018, the third consecutive year of slight increase after decades of decline.
This was said according to a report presented, yesterday, by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to newsmen, United Nations officials and stakeholders at IFAD’s headquarters.
The 239-page ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ report, released annually, is a comprehensive look at the state of hunger worldwide.
The report is produced by IFAD, along with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP), both based in Rome, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
According to the report, the number of hungry people in the world is increasing more or less in step with the global population growth.
This means the figure of 820 million hungry people in 2018 represents a slight increase compared to 2017, but in relative terms, the number of undernourished people in the world has held steady at just under 11 per cent.
More or less consistent in percentage terms since 2015. Before that, the report said, the number had steadily decreased in percentage terms.
““We can no longer wait to transform global, national and local food systems. This report comes at a time when the calls are growing for a radical transformation of food systems,” said IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo.
Houngbo said the world needs “food systems that are sustainable, nutritious, inclusive and efficient.’’
The report said Africa is hardest hit by under nourishment, with nearly 20 per cent of the population suffering from hunger.
In western Asia, hunger is on the rise, with more than 12 per cent of the population impacted.
Hunger is also becoming more common in Latin America and the Caribbean, where nearly seven per cent of the population is affected.
More than 2 billion people live without sufficient access to safe and nutritious food.
That includes around eight per cent of the population in North America and Europe, the most economically developed parts of the world, noted the report. The report added that the number of babies with unhealthily low birth weight and the level of obesity worldwide are also on the rise.