Rabat – Though Morocco managed to successfully reduce the prevalence of undernourishment during the last decade, 3.5 percent of Moroccans (1.2 million people), still suffer from the phenomenon, according to the new UN report on world food security and nutrition.
Morocco reduced the prevalence rate of undernourishment from 5.8 percent in 2004-06 to 3.5 percent in 2014-16, leading to fight against the spread of hunger in the MENA region.
In North Africa, the prevalence rate of undernourishment is estimated at 10.7 percent. The kingdom is ahead of Tunisia with a 5 percent rate, Algeria with 4.6 percent, and Egypt with 4.5 percent.
Throughout the last decade, global hunger steadily declined worldwide. However, it is on the rise again affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 percent of the global population, according to the report released on Sept. 15.
According to the UN report, this increase estimated at an additional 38 million more people than the previous year, is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts, climate-related shocks, as well as economic slowdowns.
“Over the past decade, conflicts have risen dramatically in number and become more complex and intractable in nature,” the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in their joint foreword to the report.
They stressed that some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children in the world are now concentrated in conflict zones.
“This has set off alarm bells we cannot afford to ignore: we will not end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 unless we address all the factors that undermine food security and nutrition. Securing peaceful and inclusive societies is a necessary condition to that end,” they said.
Even in regions that are more peaceful, droughts or floods linked in part to the El Niño weather phenomenon, as well as the global economic slowdown, have also seen food security and nutrition deteriorate, added the agencies.
Children are the most affected by this scourge. 155 million children aged under five that are stunted (too short for their age), while 52 million suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height.
Cindy Holleman, senior economist with FAO, said the report is one of the first to review malnutrition among children, as well as obesity among children and adults.
“This is a growing problem worldwide and also has significant implications for people’s health and living,” said Ms. Holleman, noting that some countries have problems of malnutrition, as well as obesity.