By El-Husseiny Hassan
Almost 5% of the Egyptian population suffer from food shortages, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa, Abdessalam Ould Ahmed. This was stated in a conference for the annual report on the State of Food Insecurity Near East and North Africa on Wednesday in Cairo.
“The political struggle and the crises in Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine led to an increase in the rate of spread in food insecurity for 25 years and up to this day. Half of the efforts of these states to lower hunger rates were wasted,” said Ould Ahmed.
As per the report, the number of people suffering from chronic food insecurity in the Near East and North Africa has doubled since 1990 to reach 33 million. The rate increased from 6.6% to 7.5%.
The recent Syrian crisis left 13.6 million in need of food aid and agricultural support, of which 9.8 million are in Syria as well as 3.8 million refugees in some countries.
Yemen also witnessed an increase in rates of food insecurity, that reached more than half of the country’s population, with 24 million in need of aid from the start of 2015.
Ould Ahmed said the region scored the highest number of crises and instabilities in the world for the past few years, where more than 12 countries witnessed political turmoil at the same time. Add to this also the civil unrest, wars, and long-term crises.
The report revealed that the spread of food insecurity rate in Iraq increased from 8% between 1990 and 1992, reaching 23%, between 2014 and 2016.
In the Near East and North Africa, Ould Ahmed said that achieving development goals varies from one country to another. Kuwait and Oman managed to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (one of the Millennium Development Goals) which was the scope of the World Summit on Food Security.
On an international scale, the organisation’s international report revealed that the spread of food insecurity rate has receded in the developing countries to 12.9%, compared to 23.4%. It has rapidly decreased in Latin America, West Africa and many Asian countries. On the contrary, it increased in unstable regions, such as Central Africa.