According to the latest Annual Report of the United Nations Organisation for Food and Agriculture (FAO), The state of food insecurity in the world 2008, 40 million additional people in the world suffer from being under-fed, essentially due to the increase of food prices. This brings the number of people suffering from hunger up to 963 million, compared to 923 million in 2007. Given the rhythm at which the hunger figures progress, it can be anticipated that the symbolic billion people threshold will be reached in a few months – that is to say one out of every six people in the world !
When the report was presented by the Deputy General Manager of the FAO Hafez Ghanem, on December 9, he declared that if « the prices of food products decreased since the beginning of the year (…) this did not put an end to the food crisis in many poor countries ». The current economic and financial crisis has indeed worsened the situation in the developing countries, and it may be feared that the world is not sheltered from a new food crisis.
We’re far removed from the 1996 International Food Summit objectives as well as from the Year 2000 Objectives, which were to half the number of under-fed by 2015; far from diminishing, hunger in the world is increasing and that, exponentially.
However, the means to face this exist, as the FAO has been pointing it out for some ten years, estimating that 30 billion a year would be necessary to stop hunger in the world. When he presented the report, the Director of the FAO, Jacques Diouf, said he was confident in obtaining this sum. Let’s hope it won’t be necessary to go through another food crisis for these funds to be freed up by the international community, when they only represent 1,5% of the sums governments are putting up to face the financial crisis.