Number of Undernourished Worldwide Surpasses the 1 Billion Mark
July 28, 2009
The FAO published the alarming statistic that 1.02 billion people are undernourished worldwide, the highest number of hungry ever recorded in history. This is about 100 million more than in 2008 and comprises around one‐sixth of all humanity.
The core cause of this increase in hunger is not inadequate food supplies. In fact, recent figures of the FAO Food Outlook indicate a strong world cereal production in 2009, which will only modestly fall short of last year’s record output level of 2.3 billion tons. The root of the problem instead lies in the current global economic crisis, which has reduced incomes and employment opportunities of the poor and significantly lowered their access to food.
This increase has occurred in most regions of the world. According to the FAO, undernourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 11.8% over the past year, making it the region of the world with highest prevalence of hunger (at 32%). The increase in undernourishment in Asia and the Pacific was lower at 10.5%, but the region has the highest number of undernourished people in the world. The largest percentage increase in hunger occurred in the Near East and North Africa, at 13.5%. Even in Latin America and the Caribbean, where hunger has been subsiding in recent years, undernourishment increased by 12.8%.
More information available on the FAO official press release