UN targets zero hunger in a generation as numbers fall

 A woman carries a sack of food aid after a food-drop in a field on February 23, 2015 at a village in Nyal, Panyijar county, near the northern border with Sudan. -- PHOTO: AFP
 A woman carries a sack of food aid after a food-drop in a field on February 23, 2015 at a village in Nyal, Panyijar county, near the northern border with Sudan. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - The number of hungry people around the world has dropped below 800 million for the first time since the United Nations started counting, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in an annual report on Wednesday.

The Rome-based agency said there are 795 million people around the world suffering from hunger, 216 million fewer than in 1990-92, and that the world was on track to potentially eradicate the problem within the lifetime of today's young people.

In the developing world, the prevalence of undernourishment has declined to 12.9 per cent of the population, down from 23.3 per cent a quarter of a century ago, the report found.

A total of 72 out of 129 countries monitored by the FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by this year and developing regions as a whole only missed the objective by a narrow margin.

"The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime," said FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva. "We must be the zero hunger generation."