The five worst spots for hunger

A new report notes a downward trend in the percentage of people who are undernourished, worldwide; however, developing nations account for 98 percent of the chronically undernourished people.

By Denise C. Koenig, World Vision U.S.
Updated September 25, 2014 at 09:00am PDT

A new report highlights the progress made in reducing the number of undernourished people in the world. 

Progress against hunger continues

According to the The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 (.pdf), published by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Food Program, the number of undernourished people in the world is 805 million, or one in nine.

This continues a downward trend worldwide from 18.7 percent in 1990 to 1992, to 11.3 percent in 2012 to 2014; and in developing nations, a drop from 23.4 percent to 13.5 in the same period.

Unacceptable hunger rates persist in the five worst spots

Unfortunately, it is not all good news. Developing nations account for 791 million or 98 percent of chronically undernourished people.

The five regions with the highest number of hungry people as a proportion of population include:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa:  23.8 percent
  • Caribbean:  20.1 percent
  • Southern Asia:  15.8 percent (but 17.3 percent without India)
  • Eastern Asia:   10.8 percent (but 13.5 percent without China)
  • Southeastern Asia:  10.3 percent

The report notes, “The greatest food security challenges overall remain in sub-Saharan Africa,” where every day more than one in four people lack adequate food. Yet, Asia has the highest number of hungry individuals (525.6 million).

Agreement for an end to hunger in Africa by 2025

In July 2014, African heads of state committed to ending hunger in the region by 2025. Integrated steps they discussed include:

  • Interventions to boost agricultural productivity growth and food security
  • Cash transfer programs for social protection and poverty reduction strategies
  • Efforts to promote peace and stability to eliminate armed conflict — the cause of many nations’ hunger problems

How we work to fight hunger

A foundational aspect of World Vision’s work fights hunger, especially for children, by promoting food security and livelihood stability in local communities. Much of this work is funded by faithful donors who sponsor children, and some of it is supported by government and private grants.

During disasters and other food crises, World Vision provides immediate food aid to help people get through the worst days and save the lives of children and other vulnerable groups. When the situation improves, we continue to help communities recover and build their capacity to provide food for themselves and their families.

Since many people in developing countries are subsistence farmers, our programs help growers with agricultural inputs, such as durable and drought-resistant seeds, crop diversity and rotation techniques, livestock farming, and water retention and irrigation. These measures help families to make the best climate-smart improvements for their long-term food security, while minimizing soil erosion, water loss, and other harmful results.

And we help local farm groups organize themselves for marketing and crop storage purposes to take advantage of pricing and discounts, while eliminating middlemen and product loss.

In addition, our staff teaches mothers and fathers about proper nutrition with locally available foods and new preparation techniques, so children are better nourished. Loans and business training also help participants capitalize on their business ideas — such as owning a small store or making furniture — to stabilize their livelihoods.

How you can help

  • Pray for children and families affected by chronic hunger, the long-term effects of which are devastating to their future. Pray that nutritious food will be readily available in hungry communities that they can afford to buy or raise themselves.
  • Sponsor a child today. Sponsorship is the most powerful way you can fight poverty. When you sponsor a child, you provide access to life-saving basics like nutritious food, healthcare, clean water, education and more. You will help change the life of your sponsored child, his or her family, and their community.
  • Help provide life-saving food and care. Your gift will help provide interventions like emergency food aid, agricultural support, clean water, medicine, and other essential care to hungry children and families around the world.
  • Contact your members of Congress. Voice your support for the International Affairs Budget, which makes up less than 1 percent of the overall federal budget but funds life-saving interventions to assist hungry children and families around the world There are few places in the federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.

Highlights

  • A new U.N. report notes a downward trend in the number undernourished people worldwide.
  • Developing nations account for 98 percent of chronically undernourished people.
  • The greatest food security challenges remain in sub-Saharan Africa where more than one in for people lack adequate food.
  • African heads of state committed to an agreement to end extreme hunger in Africa by 2025.
  • A foundational aspect of World Vision’s work fights hunger, especially for children, by promoting food security and livelihood stability in local communities.

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