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Nearly 1 billion people are starving, UN food agency says

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London Telegraph
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2008

Almost 1 billion people in the world are going hungry each day after the rising food costs have pushed 40 million more people into chronic hunger this year, the UN food agency’s chief said Tuesday.

The goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015 has suffered a “serious setback” as the food crisis has pushed more people, particularly in the developing world, toward hunger.

“For many countries, the world goal of reducing hunger by half is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve,” Food and Agriculture Organisation Director-General Jacques Diouf said, referring to one of the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000.

“This sad reality should not be acceptable at the dawn of the 21st century,” he said, unveiling the Rome-based agency’s annual report on world food insecurity . He added: “Even the objective of cutting by half the number of hungry by 2015 is morally unacceptable.”


An estimated 963 million people, or 14 per cent of the world’s population, are unable to afford to eat enough calories to lead a normal life, the report found – with 65 per cent of those living in seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

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The crisis affects mainly the poorest, the landless and female-headed households, says the report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008.”

Mr Diouf, who has called on wealthy countries to invest $30 billion (£20 billion) a year in agriculture, said the figure was only eight percent of agricultural subsidies paid out in developed countries.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:31 am

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