One in eight people under-nourished

The latest UN Report on Food Insecurity reveals a shocking statistic: one in eight people are under-nourished, one hundred million children aged under five are under weight, two and a half million children starve to death every single year. That is around thirty million children since the turn of the century.

The latest UN report on food insecurity is called SOFI: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012, drawn up by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Not all of it is bad news: the report reveals that there has been a strong decrease in the number of malnourished people in recent years and that the number of under-nourished people in the world has decreased by 132 million, from 18.6 per cent to 12.5 per cent of the world's population.

Despite the world economic crisis since 2009, many governments successfully protected their populations from the rising food prices.

Improvement in scientific calculation

The new figures are based on better data processing and improved methodology. Updated information taking into account a number of vectors (population, food supply, food losses, dietary requirements) providing a better and more accurate calculation, which, it has transpired, is less gloomy than previous estimates.

Nevertheless, the report also reveals some shocking statistics and facts. Firstly, "the world has the knowledge and the means to eliminate all forms of food insecurity and malnutrition". So if we have the wherewithal, why does the problem exist, especially at a time when billions are spent on weapons and mounting terrorist attacks against sovereign nations, such as the west's proxy wars in Libya and Syria.

Secondly, global progress in reducing the numbers of malnourished people has gradually declined since the year 2007, levelling off in recent years, meaning we are going backwards after having made some headway.

Thirdly, in a world where high-tech is now a reality, there are eight hundred and seventy million people undernourished, 100 million children aged under five are underweight, 2.5 million children starve to death every year. The majority of these people live in developing countries in Asia and Africa, where the number of malnourished people has risen from 175 million to 239 million people from 1992 to 2012.


The report suggests a twin-track approach which focuses on economic growth, helping smallholders stimulate agricultural production and also providing safety mechanisms for the vulnerable, giving priority to delivering quality nutrition.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey