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Post Info TOPIC: Investment needed to combat hunger in Asia

Investment needed to combat hunger in Asia

In Brief: Investment needed to combat hunger in Asia

BANGKOK, 1 June 2010 (IRIN) - Chronic hunger has worsened in recent years, and Asia - home to two-thirds of those suffering - must invest strongly in agriculture to avert this crisis, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). More than one billion people in the world, including 642 million in Asia, live in chronic hunger, up from 840 million in the mid-1990s.

"Maybe you think hunger and poverty are problems in Africa, but the reality is different," said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO chief for Asia and the Pacific. "The hunger problem is not only in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Asia Pacific, and specifically in South Asia."

Globally, the situation has deteriorated in the past four years with the fuel, food price and financial crises. "Every six seconds, one child dies from hunger... Every year, five million children die from hunger. This is unacceptable," Konuma said.

Decades of poor agricultural investment have resulted in low productivity in many Asian developing countries, the agency said. This trend must be reversed to double food production in the region - and in South Asia in particular - by 2050. FAO estimates US$209 billion in gross annual investments in agriculture would help developing countries meet global food needs by 2050.

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