Fightingx20Worldx20Hunger - FOOD TECHNOLOGY Feature...

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FOOD TECHNOLOGY NOVEMBER 2003 • VOL. 57, NO. 11 Tina van den Briel and Patrick Webb s we enter the new millennium, there are roughly 840 million chronically undernourished people in the world, 799 million of them in developing countries (FAO, 2002). The remaining 41 million are found in industrialized countries and in states undergoing transition, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. That the total number of undernourished people is 20 million lower than it was in 1990–92 is both good news and bad news. The good news is that there has been a decline in the number of hungry people in the past de- cade despite rapid population growth (there are more people around today than in 1992); despite natural disasters, such as hurricane Mitch, floods in China, and droughts across Africa; and despite an upsurge of armed con- flicts in countries like Liberia, Bosnia, Chechnya, and Sudan. It should at least be recognized that some progress is being made against very difficult odds. But the bad news is that progress remains patchy and very slow—far too slow, in fact, to meet the internationally accepted target of halving rates of hunger by the year 2015 (UN, 2000). A great many efforts are being made across the globe to bring about increases in agricultural productivity through research and extension, reductions in poverty through, for example, microfinance schemes, and reductions in the disease burden through vacci- nation campaigns. However, even if all such efforts were to succeed in com- ing decades, hungry people need to eat today to benefit from, and contribute to, those gains. Indeed, poverty reduction efforts remain stymied by the per- sistence of hunger that prevents millions of people from participating in processes of change. That is where the World Food Program (WFP) comes in. WFP is per- haps best known as the United Nations agency that responds to humanitari- an emergencies by delivering food aid to hungry people all over the globe. In 2002, WFP fed 44 million individuals through emergency operations. Yet WFP also seeks to remove root causes of hunger by using food in develop- ment programs. In both contexts, getting enough food to people who need it is critical. But quantity of food is not all that matters—so, too, does quali- Fighting World Hunger Through Micronutrient Fortification Programs The UN World Food Program helps fight global hunger through emergency relief and development programs, including milling and fortification activities. Author Tina Van Den Briel ([email protected]) is Senior Program Adviser and Patrick Webb ([email protected]) is Chief of Nutrition, Policy, Strategy, and Program Support Div., United Nations World Food Program, Via Giulio Cesare Viola, 68/70, 00148 Rome, Italy. Send reprint requests to author Webb. A
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Fightingx20Worldx20Hunger - FOOD TECHNOLOGY Feature...

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