Rabat – According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 1.4 million Moroccans were undernourished over 2015-2017, compared to a slightly lower number of 1.3 million in 2014/2016.
By “undernourished”, the FAO means that for at least one year, 1.4 million Moroccans were in a state of inability to acquire enough food to meet their dietary energy requirements.
The FAO released the figures last week in its annual report “Near East and North Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition,” which contains statistics up to 2017.
According to the report, 52 million people in the Near East and North Africa region are undernourished, that is they are facing chronic food deprivation. These figures don’t include data from Bahrain, Libya, Qatar, Palestine and Syria, so the actual figures may in fact be much higher.
5.7% of Moroccans were affected by “severe food insecurity” over the 2015/2017 period, the report also found. The numbers have increased since 2014/2016, where 5.1% of Moroccans were affected.
For the FAO, severe food insecurity means a lack of secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.
Food insecurity can exist because of unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution or inadequate use of food at the household level.
The rise in figures may be explained by the severe drought Morocco suffered from in 2016, the worst in 30 years, which significantly impacted on cereal production across the country. 120 000 people lost their jobs in the agriculture sector between 2015 and 2016, and the country experienced a 3.3% overall drop in GDP that year.