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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Food security: FAO highlights need for strategic cooperation *43.7m undernourished in NENA region

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has highlighted need for strategic regional cooperation in the wake of conflicts, rapid population growth and urbanization, and a heavy reliance on food imports which are posing serious challenges for food security, NaijaAgroNet reports.

A press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet by officials of FAO, indicates that three countries in the region Near East and North Africa (NENA), namely the Algeria, Jordan and Kuwait; have met the hunger component of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) by halving the proportion of their population experiencing chronic hunger.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that region-wide, the number of undernourished people remains high at nearly 43.7 million, or 10 per cent of the population, while 24.5 per cent of children under five are stunted due to chronic under-nutrition, according to an assessment presented at the start of the organization's  regional conference at the weekend.

Experts also said that micronutrient deficiencies are common in both affluent and less affluent countries, having a number of serious consequences for school enrollment, productivity and public health.

FAO further decried that conflicts and civil strife remained the driving factor for food insecurity in the region in recent years, just as the hotspots include Iraq, Sudan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Yemen.
In Syria alone, an estimated 6.3 million people are in need of sustained food and agricultural assistance.

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