World Hunger Reaches 1 Billion Mark

by Chris Sturr | June 22, 2009

Not because there isn’t enough food—see the last paragraph below.

From the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, as reported by the AP on Saturday:

The global financial meltdown has pushed the ranks of the world’s hungry to a record 1 billion, a grim milestone that poses a threat to peace and security, U.N. food officials said Friday.

Because of war, drought, political instability, high food prices and poverty, hunger now affects one in six people, by the United Nations’ estimate.

The financial meltdown has compounded the crisis in what the head of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization called a “devastating combination for the world’s most vulnerable.” …

Officials presenting the new estimates in Rome sought to stress the link between hunger and instability, noting that soaring prices for staples, such as rice, triggered riots in the developing world last year. …

Even though prices have retreated from their mid-2008 highs, they are still “stubbornly high” in some domestic markets, according to FAO. On average, food prices were 24 percent higher in real terms at the end of 2008 compared to 2006, it said. …

FAO said that the hunger rate is rising, too—that is, the number of hungry people is growing more quickly than the world population. Officials did not provide a rate but said the trend began two years ago. …

World cereal production in 2009 was strong, but the global economic downturn resulted in lower incomes and higher unemployment rates—and therefore reduced access to food.

Read the full article here.

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