The True Extent of Hunger: What the FAO Isn’t Telling You
This backgrounder is authored by Food First. Photo by ©FAO/Roberto Cenciarelli.
Last year, the final report of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) from the United Nations announced a milestone in the fight to end global hunger, declaring:
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“Projections indicate a drop of almost half in the proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions, from 23.3% in 1990–1992 to 12.9% in 2014–2016. This is very close to the MDG hunger target.”
Should we celebrate the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history”? Not yet.
By other measures hunger and undernourishment are increasing. Despite record world harvests and enough food to feed everyone 3000 calories a day, independent analyses indicate that half the world is going hungry. Measuring hunger correctly is important. It tells us whether the combination of thirty years of neoliberal economic policies and decades of multilateral development projects have made things better—or have actually made them worse. How can the calculations be so different?