The progress in reducing the proportion of hungry people in the world has been tragically slow, according to the 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report released here on Thursday by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute.
The report, the seventh in an annual series, presented a multidimensional measure of global, regional, and national hunger and said that hunger on a global scale remains serious, and the world needs to produce more food with fewer resources, while eliminating wasteful practices and policies.
Over the next four decades, it said, agricultural production will need to increase substantially to meet the demands of a growing and increasingly wealthy world population. It cited land, water and energy stresses as challenges for ensuring sustainable food security.
The 2012 GHI scores for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa remain alarming. South Asia has the highest hunger index, with social inequality and low nutrition, education and social status for women being the major causes for children undernutrition.
With the exception of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, all countries in which the hunger situation worsened from the 1990 GHI to the 2012 GHI are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Increased hunger since 1990 in Burundi, Comoros, and Cote d'Ivoire can be attributed to prolonged conflict and political instability. Swaziland, and Botswana are also among the "losers" with major percentage increase in hunger index.
GHI winners, those with high percentage decrease in the index, include Fiji, Vietnam, China, SaudiArabia, Ghana, Nicaragua, Iran, Mexico, Kuwait and Turkey. Ghana is the only country in Sub-Sahara Africa which is among the 10 best performers in beating hunger.
Based on data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the proportion of people undernourished, the proportion of underweight children under the age of five, as well as the mortality rate of children under five, the index ranks 120 countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score and 100 being the worst.
The report was released here during the three-day Borlaug International Symposium, which coincides annually with the World Food Prize, which was founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Norman Borlaug.
Some 1,500 agricultural experts, policy makers, business executives and farmers are drawn to this year's dialogue on food security and sustainability.