Health :: World’s hungry population swells to 852 million

Despite repeated promises to eradicate hunger, the number of people starving in the world has swelled to 852 million and it is a shame when our planet has the capacity to feed twice the current population of 6 billion.

“It is a shame on humanity, especially when the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) calculates that our planet could feed twice the current population of 6 billion if there were better food distribution,” the UN’s Special Reporter on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, told reporters on Thursday.

Noting that nearly half of the world’s hungry population lived on already degraded land, he blamed under funding of UN feeding programmes and continued dumping of food produced in Europe and the United States in Africa for the worsening situation.

African agriculture is “objectively” ruined by agricultural dumping by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, said Ziegler.

He said that in 2005, there were 11 million more hungry people than previous year.

He stressed on massive investment in the rural areas as poverty was primarily a rural phenomenon.

Without adequate investment in small-scale irrigation and small-scale agriculture, there is little hope of eradicating hunger, he said.

He also called for international protection of the growing number of people forced to flee their lands for environmental reasons but lamented that such protection of ecological refugees or environmental migrants is currently as inadequate as the low level of investment.

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