Between 2015 and 2016, some 2.4 million people were added to the undernourished index in the region, bringing the total number to 4.2 million.
Member countries of the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, have agreed to increase their efforts working collectively to help eradicate an increase in hunger since 2016 and strengthen food security in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Some delegates conceded that discussing hunger in the Caribbean in 2018 was an embarrassment.
However, all government ministers attending the four-day meeting where they discussed issues of malnutrition, hunger, and food security, praised efforts implemented by the FAO to tackle hunger and the plight of the poor, according to Jamaica Observer. They also acknowledged that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty and hunger by December 2015 did not take the region into account.
Julio Berdegue, FAO's regional representative, said hunger and malnutrition are most prevalent in the countryside, where public services or deficient or hard to access, and susceptible to natural or human-induced climate events.
“This fact is especially noticeable in the poorest families who can earn their livelihood from farming or other activities related to the management of natural resources, and affects women, children and indigenous people with greatest severity,” he noted.
Data presented during the conference highlighted that hunger was on the rise in the Caribbean and Latin American region for the first time in the last two decades. The numbers revealed that between 2015 and 2016, some 2.4 million people were added to the undernourished index in the region, bringing the total number to 4.2 million.
FAO officials noted that the main reason for the spike in malnutrition and hunger is the economic downturn since 2015, a decrease in the price for exported raw materials and political uncertainty and instability.