More than 800 million people are victims of hunger in today’s world. In addition, nearly 2 billion are affected by so-called “hidden hunger” – absence of important vitamins and minerals in their diet, which may lead to lasting and irreparable health damage. Most of those who go hungry come from low- and medium-income countries, and many of them live in the countryside.
Hunger and undernourishment lead to sickness and death. They undermine the normal development of children and make it more difficult to learn in school. For adults, it becomes more burdensome to work and take care of their families when they lack sufficient access to food.
The World Bank is one of many actors who point to agriculture as the most effective area in which to combat hunger and poverty. According to the World Bank, growth in the agricultural sector is more than twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.
The right to food is a fundamental human right. It is described in the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, and later also in the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It implies that authorities should facilitate access to enough and safe food for individuals and their households. The governments that have signed the Covenant have committed themselves to respect, protect and fulfill the right to food.