World hunger has been on the rise for the last three years resulting from conflicts, climate change events, and economic issues, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a report Wednesday at the close of a global conference.
About 820 million people are currently malnourished around the world, a number that has been increasing since 2014, the report states. Middle and Western Africa, the Caribbean, and parts of Asia are the hardest hit by food insecurity and hunger.
"After decades of gains in fighting hunger, this is a serious setback and FAO and the U.N. sister agencies, together with member governments and other partners, are all very concerned," FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva said.
Global demand for food is expected to double by 2050, which would wreak havoc on many current farming systems, which tend to rely on monocultures. On top of that, climate-related disasters from extreme heat, droughts, floods, and storms, have doubled in frequency since the early 1990s, which has cost farmers their crops and people access to foods.
"Access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food must be framed as a human right, with priority given to the most vulnerable," the report states. "A shift is needed towards nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems that provide safe and high-quality food, promoting healthy diets for all."