Afghans among the world's hungriest: FAO

October 17, 2000

ISLAMABAD, 17 October (IRIN) - Afghanistan is one of the hungriest countries in the world, according to the FAO's annual food security report released on Monday.

Afghanistan was one of the few non-African countries in the most deprived group of 23 countries which faced the most pressing and difficult problems in feeding their people, the report said.

The FAO found that the hungry of Afghanistan were missing 26 percent of their minimum daily food requirement. Afghanistan also ranked one of the

highest countries in terms of population undernourished, recording 70 percent. The world's other 'hungriest' countries were Somalia, with 75 percent of its population undernourished and Haiti, 62 percent.

The FAO's representative in Islamabad, Aboul-Nager, told IRIN that the way forward depended on the donor community. He said that the commitment of aid to Afghanistan had been primarily for humanitarian purposes and only a very small portion allocated to development.

"Afghan farmers need some medium and long-term development assistance to produce more food,." he said.

Aboul-Nager told IRIN that the donor pledges for agriculture and food security under the UNs 2000 appeal for Afghanistan was only 8.5 percent funded. More than US $26 million was requested.

The report went on to say that in terms of sheer numbers, there were more chronically hungry people in Asia, but the 'depth of hunger' was greatest in sub-Saharan Africa.

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