A United Nations agency has revealed that the international goal of cutting hunger by half by 2015 appears "even more remote" after 75 million new people joined the ranks of the famished last year.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that high food prices have reversed the gains made towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015.
Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Rome-based agency, said Wednesday that the number of malnourished people rose from 850 million to 925 million in 2007.
During world food summits held in 1996, 2002 and last June, the international community underscored its desire to reach food security and cut the number of people suffering from chronic hunger in half by 2015.
But given last year's dramatic rise, the FAO said: "The achievement of the World Food Summit goal of halving the number of hungry people is even more remote."
The agency warned the number of people suffering from acute hunger has probably gone up again this year due to the continuing rise of the prices of grains and oil.
Of the 75 million new people who went hungry last year, 41 million were in Asia and the Pacific, 24 million in sub-Saharan Africa, six million in Latin America, and four million in North Africa and the Middle East.