Dossier: Food out of reach
5 February 2009
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said on Thursday there was a "startling gap" between pledges made by donors to help growing numbers of hungry people and funds received. Donors at a summit in Rome last month promised $22 billion (15 billion pounds) in agriculture and food aid after higher food prices left another 40 million people hungry in 2008. That raises the number of undernourished people in the world to 963 million, the United Nations says. The head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has said only about $2 billion -- less than one-tenth of the funds pledged -- had been received to date, but more was due in coming years. [...] U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon last week called on rich nations to do more to prevent the global financial slowdown from adding to a massive 1 billion people going hungry in the world. Food prices have come down for the time being but the number of hungry people was set to rise again, Ban said. The financial crisis will slash the poor's purchasing power and cause higher unemployment, according to the World Food Programme.
International Herald Tribune / Reuters