Bangladesh has been able to reduce the number of severely food insecure population but still one in every six person is undernourished and does not have access to sufficient food, says a new UN report.
In the last 10 years, the number of undernourished people has risen by almost a million — from 23.85 million between 2004 and 2006 to 24.2 million in 2018, says the report titled ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019’.
The report was prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.
The number of severely food insecure people was 17.8 million in 2014-16, but in 2016-18 it came down to 16.8million says the report.
The report said to safeguard food security and nutrition, it was critical to already have in place economic and social policies to counteract the effects of adverse economic cycles when they arrive, while avoiding cuts in essential services, such as healthcare and education, at all costs.
It said with “real political commitment, bolder actions and the right investments”, zero hunger was still achievable.
The UN said the pace of progress in halving child stunting and reducing the number of low birthweight babies was too slow, which jeopardised the chances of achieving the sustainable development goals related to these two factors.
While hunger remains widespread, obesity, also related to malnutrition, continues to rise in all regions.
Although Bangladesh has made some progress in other indicators of nutrition level -- number of severely and moderately food insecure people, and number of children below 5 who are stunted -- adult obesities and women affected with anemia is increasing.
A total of 3.6 million adult people in the country had obesity in 2016 though it was 2.5 million in 2012, while 18.2 million women were affected with anemia in 2016 while it was 17.4 million in 2012.
Globally more than 820 million people, or nearly 11% of the world population, were still undernourished in 2018, according to the report.
Of this, Asia had 513.9 million and Africa had 256.1 million people.
The report said global undernourishment, which declined for decades until 2015, has remained nearly unchanged at about 11% since then.
Climate breakdown is affecting agriculture and the number of farmers has declined, the report says. “All of this has led to major shifts in the way in which food is produced, distributed and consumed worldwide -- and to new food security, nutrition and health challenges”