A UN report has revealed great progress in the fight against world hunger, with the goal of halving the world's underfed population by 2015 within reach. Still, challenges remain, particularly in the developing world.
In the last 10 years the number of hungry people in the world has fallen by 100 million, though one in nine remain undernourished, a report by three global agriculture and food agencies revealed Tuesday.
The yearly report, entitled, "The State of Food Insecurity in the World," was issued jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and World Food Programme. It found that the number of hungry people worldwide is down over 200 million since the early 1990s.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halving the number the world's undernourished by 2015 is also within reach, if appropriate measures are taken, the report said.
"This is proof that we can win the war against hunger and should inspire countries to move forward, with the assistance of the international community as needed," the agencies said in a statement.
Access to food has improved notably in east and southeast Asia, as well as south Asia and Latin America. Improved economic conditions are credited with reducing hunger in these areas. Additionally, 25 countries worldwide have reached the goal of halving the absolute number of underfed within their populations, the report said.
Still, food insecurity remains a "challenge to be conquered" according to the report, with substantial effort required to improve conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where over one in four people are chronically undernourished, and southern and western Asia.
Asia as a whole is home to the majority of the underfed, with 526 million people currently undernourished.
The report said that eliminating hunger would substantially reduce global poverty, and called for substantial investments in sustainable family farming.
"Family farmers produce a high proportion of the food we eat and are, by far, the biggest source of employment in the world. They are also the custodians of the world's agricultural biodiversity and other natural resources," the report said.
Additional measures to combat hunger should include improving connections between farmers and markets, reducing the amount of wasted food, and raising incomes, the report said.
bw/dr (AFP, Reuters, DPA)