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Rising food prices add 5 million to poor list

Rising international food prices and global recession may have led to addition of five million poor in India, a new global report released by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Tuesday, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2008 01:03 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Rising international food prices and global recession may have led to addition of five million poor in India, a new global report released by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Tuesday.

The report said there are 963 million hungry people worldwide, 40 million more than in 2007. In its latest report, the FAO had said this backward step stemmed mainly from soaring food prices and warned that the situation might become worse by the international economic crisis.

The food and financial crises have wiped out nearly 30 years of progress on reducing hunger, warned international NGO ActionAid, reacting to new figures from FAO. These numbers mean that 17% of the world’s population was going hungry, a level of malnutrition last seen in 1990. For India, the figure was 21 per cent of the population, a slight increase from the earlier percentage of 20.

The report said the increase in the number of undernourished in India could be attributed to a slowing growth in the per capita dietary energy supply for human consumption since 1995-97. While dietary energy demand has increased with life expectancy in India rising from 59 to 63 years since 1990-92, the supply has not increased substantially. This, the FAO blamed on continuing high consumer prices for food items despite a fall in global food prices.