Central America behind in regional effort against hunger, says UN agency chief
South America and the Caribbean have made substantial progress towards eliminating hunger, but Central American States are lagging behind in the same fight, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) told a meeting in Brazil today.
Director-General Jacques Diouf told a conference on food and nutritional security in Fortaleza that the number of people across the whole region suffering from hunger fell from 59 million in the early 1990s to 52 million in 2001-03.
But that sharp drop was confined to South America and the Caribbean, whereas in Central America the progress was not as positive, either in the number or proportion of victims of hunger and malnutrition, Dr. Diouf said.
He called on those countries to take notice of successful campaigns such as Zero Hunger, a programme launched in Brazil in 2003 that has since spurred similar schemes in Nicaragua and Colombia.
“FAO has learned very important lessons from this experience in Brazil. These lessons can be applied in other countries engaged in combating hunger,” he said, stressing that any programmes to improve food security must consider factors such as the rapid urbanization of much of the developing world.
Insufficient access to land and water, a lack of available credit for the rural poor and the impact of climate change on farming land are also affecting the capacity of poorer nations to reduce hunger, Dr. Diouf said.