UN: Number of world's hungry dips below 1 billion
The number of undernourished people in the world has declined to around 925 million, the first such drop in 15 years, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Tuesday, DPA reported.
The FAO however, said the figure remains "unacceptably high," - higher than before the global food and and economic crises of the last two years that pushed the number of people lacking adequate food supplies to 1.023 billion in 2009.
Every six seconds a child dies of a hunger-related disease, FAO said.
The Rome-based agency also stressed that 16 per cent of people in developing countries still face hunger - a much larger proportion than the internationally-agreed Millenium Development Goal of 10 per cent by 2015.
Better access to food due to better economic conditions - particularly in developing countries - and lower food prices contributed to the drop in undernorishment.
But the FAO warned that if the recent surge in prices - in part linked to volatility in the wheat market linked to drought and fires in Russia - were to persist, it would create additional obstacles in combating hunger.
The number of people without adequate food supplies suggests that international efforts to combat hunger still fall well short of the 1996 World Food Summit's goal to cut the figure to 400 million by 2015.
In order to tackle the "root causes" of hunger, the FAO urged governments to encourage investment in agriculture and boost and expand social assistance programmes while enhancing income-generating activities for rural and urban poor.
The FAO on Tuesday also anticipated other key figures contained in its annual State of Food Insecurity in the World report due for release in October.
The findings show that two thirds of undernourished people live in seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan - with 40 per cent of these living in China and India alone.
The region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment is sub- Saharan Africa with 30 per cent.