Nearly five million Colombians suffer from malnutrition or are starving, according to the United Nations (UN) on Monday.
The sobering figure, which represents about 12% of the Colombian population, came on Monday from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at the Second World Summit of Regions on Food Security held in Medellin.
“In the case of Colombia, we need to make more of a push. There was a significant reduction [in hunger] in the 90s, but that has stalled,” claimed Raul Benitez, FAO’s director for Latin America.
The FAO concluded that Colombia’s efforts to secure food for its people were lagging behind those of neighbouring countries: Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Peru.
“We have to work harder,” Benitez said. “We know that this takes time, so to end hunger now for living populations, governments must transfer money and staples to these people. “
Medellin Mayor Anibal Gaviria who was in attendance, said that partnerships between local and regional governments are essential to addressing the problem in Colombia. “The keys that we have identified to achieve food security are political will and an integrated design of programs,” he said.
Delegates and food experts from over 30 countries worldwide participated in the forum to discuss the global problem. There are 867 million hungry people in the world, according to the FAO.