U.N. says number of people facing hunger increased in 2021

A farmer harvests black ginger, known for its medicinal properties, and endemic in Phnom Kulen in Cambodia. Photo courtesy of United Nations

Sept. 19 (UPI) — The United Nations began a global forum Monday to highlight the “Decade of Family Farming,” aimed at identifying policies to help global agriculture, which began three years ago.

Qu Dongyu, the director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, said that the number of people facing hunger worldwide increased in 2021 and has faced further pressure this year amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Family farmers need to be at the center of efforts to transform agrifood systems if we are to make real progress towards ending hunger,” Qu said.

Qu added that family farming “is the main form of agriculture” globally and responsible for producing 80% of the world’s food in terms of value.

The initiative that began Monday will provide a way to discuss the “unique role” of family farmers, as well as “tale stock” of achievements in the implementation of the forum and strengthen collaboration to ensure global food security.

Data from the United Nations published in July shows that the number of people affected by hunger globally increased to as many as 828 million last year, a rise of about 46 million since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Around 45 million children under the age of five were suffering from wasting, the “deadliest form of malnutrition,” in 2021 alone, according to the United Nations. Another 149 million children suffered stunted growth and development because of malnutrition.

The administration of President Joe Biden will host a White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health later this month.


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