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Hunger is going away
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Economic growth reduced poverty but levels of inequality in the region remain among the highest in the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region where hunger reduction has seen the greatest progress in the past two decades, both in percentage and number of people suffering hunger, the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture, or FAO, announced in a new report.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012, released Oct. 10 by the FAO in conjunction with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme showed that from 1990-1992, hunger affected 65 million people (14.6 percent of the region’s population). From 2010-2012, that figure dropped to 49 million (8.3 percent). Brazil y Peru saw the greatest progress; each decreased by 2 million the number of hungry people in the past three years.

“In the last 20 years, Latin America and the Caribbean is the world region that has advanced the most in hunger reduction, in terms of percentage and number of hungry people, achieving major steps toward meeting the goals of the World Food Summit [1996] and the first Millennium Development Goal [to reduce hunger and poverty by 50 percent by 2015],” the FAO said.

The region has also seen a decline in the rate of undernourished (chronically hungry) individuals in the last two decades, from 6.5 percent to 5.6 percent, according to the FAO.

However, the document stressed that despite the region´s economic growth – and consequent poverty reduction – during the last decade, inequality levels are still much higher than in other regions.

“As inequality increased over time, poverty reduction slowed,” the report notes. “In parts of Latin America, however, because of an unequal distribution of land and the dominance of mechanized farming, the relationship between productivity and poverty reduction is much weaker: yields have grown rapidly but rural poverty has changed little.”

“Sustainable agricultural growth is often effective in reaching the poor because most of the poor and hungry live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for a significant part of their livelihoods. However, growth will not necessarily result in better nutrition for all,” it added.
—Latinamerica Press.

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