59M Filipinos went hungry in 2017-19, says FAO
MANILA, Philippines — As many as 59 million Filipinos consider themselves food insecure between 2017 and 2019, a 31-percent jump from the 44.9-million figure between 2014 and 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
The FAO defines food insecurity as the lack of consistent access to enough food to ensure an active and healthy life. The term also refers to malnutrition and undernourishment.
The FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report also listed the Philippines as having the highest count of food-insecure citizens in Southeast Asia compared to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
According to the agency, food-insecurity scales for each country are classified into two thresholds: moderate and severe.
The Philippines has around 18.8 million Filipinos who were considered severely food insecure between 2017 and 2019, FAO said. Roughly 12.4 million were recorded between 2014 and 2016.
The number of undernourished Filipinos also rose by 28 percent, from 12 million to 15.4 million in the same period.
At least 63 percent of 105.2 million Filipinos are unable to afford a healthy meal that costs P231.10, the FAO noted.
“It is unacceptable that, in a world that produces enough food to feed its entire population … over 3 billion people cannot even afford the cheapest healthy diet,” it added.
Food production in the Philippines relies heavily on small farmers and fisherfolk with little government support.
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