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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – October 28, 2002: UN World Food Report - 2002-10-25

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says hunger kills millions of people each year -- especially children. The U-N organization says millions more people will die unless more money is invested to fight against hunger.

This is based on the results of a new U-N study called “The State of Food Insecurity in the World, Two-Thousand-Two.” It found that more than nine-million people die each year from hunger. Six-million of them are children younger than age five. Researchers also found that the number of starving people is growing in some parts of the world.

The report says that about eight-hundred-forty-million people around the world are not getting enough food to eat. Ninety-five percent of these people are in developing countries.

The number of hungry people in developing countries has been reduced by only about two-million people a year in the last ten years. At this rate, the total reduction will be less than ten percent by the year two-thousand-fifteen. This is far less than the fifty percent decrease in hunger called for by the World Food Summit in nineteen-ninety-six.

Researchers say that any small gains against hunger were the result of progress in large countries. China, for example, reduced its number of hungry people by seventy-four- million. Six other countries also reduced their numbers of hungry people. They are Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Nigeria, Ghana and Peru. However, the situation worsened in forty-seven other countries.

Nick Parsons is a spokesman for the U-N Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. He says the study shows that progress in the fight against world hunger has been slowed to almost a halt. As a result, the U-N food agency is calling on industrial and developing counties to increase public investment in agriculture. About seventy percent of people suffering from severe hunger live in farming areas of developing countries. But the report says government and international investment in agricultural development has been decreasing.

The U-N Food and Agriculture Organization says investment in hunger reduction can have important economic effects for both rich and poor countries. It says that people who live longer and more productive lives can help improve the economy of their countries.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.