The developing world is far from reaching the Millennium Development Goal of cutting the number of hungry people in half by 2015, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says.
In its latest annual hunger report, the FAO Director-General, Jacques Diouf, notes that if each of the developing regions continues to reduce hunger at the current pace, only South America and the Caribbean will reach the Millennium Development Goal.
To achieve the development goals, the report calls for a double approach consisting of national and international investments in strengthening productivity and incomes, as well as providing direct access to food through feeding programs, school meals and school gardens and food-for-work programs.
The report indicates that the Asia-Pacific region has a good chance of reaching the Millennium Development Goal if it can accelerate progress slightly over the next few years. However in sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of under-nourishment has been decreasing very slowly. The report notes that the speed of progress was slightly better in the 1990s than it is today.
The United Nations considers providing children with adequate food as crucial for breaking the poverty and hunger cycle and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. It says that reducing the prevalence of child underweight by only 5 percentage points could save the lives of 30% of children between one and five.