Global Hunger Rates Drop

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A new UN report on world hunger says there’s less of it.  We look at what the world did right and the food challenge ahead.

In this file photo, A vendor roasts some corn to sell at a market in Harare, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 . A new report from the United Nations' Food And (AP).
In this file photo, A vendor roasts some corn to sell at a market in Harare, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 . A new report from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization suggests that world hunger is down 167 million people in the last decade (AP).

Good news on world hunger recently. Not great. Not solved. But good. While the world’s population zoomed up in the last 25 years, hunger fell. A new UN report shows that while the global population jumped up by two billion, the number of hungry people – without sufficient food supplies – fell by about 200 million. There’s still plenty of hunger. But the percent of those going hungry in the developing word has fallen by nearly half. That’s worth exploring. Understanding. Improving on. This hour On Point:  with population up, what’s driven world hunger down?
-- Tom Ashbrook


Josef Schmidhuber, deputy director of the economic and social affairs division of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

Douglas Irwin, economist and professor of social sciences at Dartmouth College. Author of "Trade Policy Disaster" and "Free Trade Under Fire" and co-author of "The Genesis of the GATT."

Christopher Barrett, professor of applied economics and management and agriculture at Cornell University, where he is also director of the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Author of the new book, "Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability."

From Tom’s Reading List

United Nations FAO: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 — "About 795 million people are undernourished globally, down 167 million over the last decade, and 216 million less than in 1990–92. The decline is more pronounced in developing regions, despite significant population growth. In recent years, progress has been hindered by slower and less inclusive economic growth as well as political instability in some developing regions, such as Central Africa and western Asia." 

The Guardian: Social protection schemes hold key to beating world hunger, says UN — "If targets to end world hunger by 2030 are to be met, governments and donors in developing countries must spend more on cash transfers to poor farmers, school meals and other social protection schemes, a UN report has said. Economic inequality, which is particularly acute in rural areas, is a key reason why 795 million people do not have enough food enough to eat, according to a report released on Wednesday by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad)."

Christian Science Monitor: Number of hungry people down by 200 million since 1990 — "Agriculture is vital not only in terms of food production, but also as an avenue through which the poor can participate in an economy’s growth process, according to the FAO. Small farms, which make up about 90 percent of the 570 million farms worldwide, have lower labor productivity than their larger counterparts, and many small farmers are poor and food-insecure, the report found."

This program aired on June 3, 2015.


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