Rome (AFP) – The number of world hungry has dropped to one in eight people, but undernourishment remains a significant problem in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, the UN's food agency said Tuesday.
At the global level, 842 million people -- 12 percent of the world's population -- did not have enough food for an active and healthy life in the period 2011 to 2013, down from 868 million reported for the period 2010 to 2012.
"Around one in eight people in the world were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger" in the period 2011 to 2013, the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said in report on food insecurity in the world.
"Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, with more than one in five people estimated to be undernourished," it said.
Despite overall progress, marked differences across regions persist.
Sub-Saharan Africa is currently performing the worst on the hunger scale, though there has been some improvement over the last two decades, with hunger declining from 32.7 percent to 24.8 percent.
Southern Asia and Northern Africa also show slow progress, it said.
Western Asia shows no progress in tackling undernourishment: while there are fewer people going hungry here than in other parts of the region, the level of undernourishment has risen steadily since the 1990 to 1992 period.
The FAO said there had, however, been significant reductions in the estimated number of people going hungry in Latin America and Eastern Asia.
The most rapid progress was recorded in South-Eastern Asia, where since 1990 the number of hungry has dropped from 31.1 percent to 10.7 percent.
"Those that have experienced conflict during the past two decades are more likely to have seen significant setbacks in reducing hunger," the FAO said.
"Landlocked countries face persistent challenges in accessing world markets, while countries with poor infrastructure and weak institutions face additional constraints," it added.