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Report Says Much Work Remains On Hunger, Nutrition; FAO Head Calls For ‘Integrated Nutrition Strategies’

“The world’s food security remains ‘vulnerable,’ new data suggests, with some 870 million people experiencing sustained hunger and two billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies,” Inter Press Service reports. On Thursday, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) released its 2012 Global Food Policy Report, which “says such numbers are ‘unacceptably high,’ and warns that anti-hunger programs have been ‘piecemeal,’” according to IPS. “[T]he organization said there were some positive achievements made last year, but that a number of policy changes are still required,” the news service writes, and discusses “agricultural development as an important potential job creator, particularly for young people”; violent conflict “as both a cause and consequence of food security”; and “the centrality of gender equality in promoting agricultural growth and food security” (Hitchon, 3/16).

In related news, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva on Friday said in a speech at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, “We need integrated nutrition strategies, formed with the inputs of society as a whole — the private sector, consumers, doctors, and consumer organizations and others,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “While 870 million people suffer from hunger, there are also over half a billion who are obese and susceptible to non-communicable diseases,” the news service writes, noting, “Food alternatives and information on their diets would help address this problem, Mr. Graziano da Silva said, adding that a global review of nutrition strategy could, for example, involve rethinking the role of traditional crops, which have lost space in modern diets.” According to the news service, “Graziano da Silva signed an accord with the University of Wageningen [to collaborate] on scientific research and joint activities to foster and promote education, research and technology capacities in developing countries over the next four years” (3/15).