Climate Change & Depleted Resources Leave World Hungry, Says UN
Feeding a hungry planet is growing increasingly difficult as climate change and depletion of land and other resources undermine food systems, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization said on Wednesday, 28 November, as it renewed appeals for better policies and technologies to reach "zero hunger."
Population growth requires supplies of more nutritious food at affordable prices, but increasing farm output is hard given the "fragility of the natural resource base" since humans have outstripped Earth's carrying capacity in terms of land, water and climate change, the report said.
"The call for action is very clear. It is possible in our lifetime and it is also realistic to end hunger and malnutrition," Inonge Wina, vice president of Zambia, told the conference.
But it's also endangered by civil strife and other conflicts. In Yemen, where thousands of civilians have died in airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition, the aid group Save the Children says 85,000 children younger than 5 may have died of hunger or disease in the civil war.
FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva noted that the number of hungry and malnourished people in the world has risen to levels last seen a decade ago.
Hunger is still most severe in Africa, but the largest number of undernourished people live in the Asia-Pacific region, the report said. It said good public policies and technology are the keys to improving the situation.
Farmers can expand land use to help make up some of the difference, but that option is constrained in places like Asia and the Pacific and urbanization is eating up still more land that once may have been used for agriculture.
China destroys 12 million tons of tainted grain each year, at a loss of nearly $2.6 billion, according to the report.
(Published in an arrangement with the Associated Press)