Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 in doubt, UN report warns

Between 83 million and 132 million people could go hungry in 2020 due to COVID-19, according to the report

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 13 July 2020
While most of the world's hungry people were in Asia, Africa would overtake it by 2030, according to the new UN report on hunger. Photo: Flickr

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of ‘Zero Hunger’ that it had mandated by 2030, will be very difficult, a United Nations report released on July 13, 2020, has warned.

Six hundred and ninety million people went hungry in 2019 — up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years, the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, has said.

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the recession triggered by it will cause another 83 million people and possibly as many as 132 million, to go hungry in 2020.

The global prevalence of undernourishment — or overall percentage of hungry people — had changed little at 8.9 per cent, but the absolute numbers have been rising since 2014, the report said.

In other words, hunger has grown in step with the global population over the last five years, it added.

The greatest number of undernourished people were in Asia (381 million). Africa came second (250 million), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (48 million).

However, on the basis of current trends, by 2030, Africa would be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry, the report said.

A healthy diet cost far more than $ 1.90 per day, the international poverty threshold, according to the report. It put the price of even the least expensive healthy diet at five times the price of filling stomachs with starch only. Nutrient-rich dairy, fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods (plant and animal-sourced) were the most expensive food groups globally, according to the report.

Three billion people globally were unable to afford a healthy diet, the report said. In sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, this was the case for 57 per cent of the population.

According to the report, in 2019, between a quarter and a third of children under five (191 million) were stunted or wasted — too short or too thin. Another 38 million under-fives were overweight. Most adults were obese.

The report was jointly produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agriculture, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the UN World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

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