A fame no mundo chega a cifras de récord

A fame no mundo alcanzará un récord histórico en 2009, con 1.020 millóns de persoas que pasan fame a diario, segundo os últimos datos publicados pola FAO. Unha sexta parte da humanidade sofre desnutrición.

El reciente incremento del hambre no es consecuencia de las malas cosechas, está causado por la crisis económica mundial, que ha provocado a su vez una disminución de los ingresos y un incremento del desempleo. De este modo se ha reducido el acceso de los pobres a los alimentos, según la Organización de la ONU.

"Una mezcla explosiva de desaceleración económica mundial y precios de los alimentos que se empeñan en permanecer altos en muchos países, ha empujado a unos 100 millones de personas más al hambre y la pobreza", aseguró el Director General de la FAO, Jacques Diouf. "Esta crisis silenciosa del hambre -que afecta a uno de cada seis seres humanos- supone un serio riesgo para la paz y la seguridad mundiales. Necesitamos crear con urgencia un amplio consenso para la erradicación rápida y completa del hambre en el mundo y para dar los pasos necesarios", añadió.

"La situación actual de inseguridad alimentaria mundial -subrayó- no nos puede dejar indiferentes".

Los países pobres, según Diouf, "necesitan las herramientas de desarrollo, económicas y políticas necesarias para impulsar su producción agrícola y su productividad. Es necesario incrementar la inversión en agricultura, ya que en la mayoría de los países pobres un sector agrícola saludable es clave para vencer al hambre y la pobreza y supone un requisito previo para el crecimiento económico".

"Muchos de los que sufren pobreza y hambre en el mundo son pequeños campesinos en los países en desarrollo. Pero tienen el potencial no solamente de cubrir sus propias necesidades, si no también de mejorar la seguridad alimentaria y catalizar un mayor crecimiento económico. Para liberar este potencial y reducir el número de víctimas del hambre en el mundo, los gobiernos -con el apoyo de la comunidad internacional-, necesitan proteger las inversiones clave en la agricultura, de forma que los pequeños campesinos tengan acceso no solo a semillas y fertilizantes, si no también a tecnologías adaptadas para ellos, infraestructuras, financiación rural y mercados", explicó Kanayo F. Nwanze, Presidente del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA).

"En la mayoría de los países en desarrollo no existe apena duda de que invertir en los pequeños agricultores supone crear la red de seguridad más sostenible, en especial en tiempos de crisis económica mundial", añadió Nwanze.

"El rápido avance del hambre continúa provocando una enorme crisis humanitaria. El mundo necesita trabajar unido para garantizar que se atienden las necesidades de emergencia y se buscan soluciones a largo plazo", señaló por su parte Josette Sheeran, Directora Ejecutiva del Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA).

El hambre aumenta

Al tiempo que se lograron importantes progresos para reducir el hambre crónica en la década de 1980 y la primera mitad de la de 1990, el hambre aumentó lenta pero inexorablemente durante la última década, según la FAO. El número de hambrientos se incrementó entre 1995-97 y 2004-06 en todas las regiones del mundo, excepto en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Pero incluso en esta última región, los progresos en la reducción del hambre se han visto anulados como consecuencia del alza de los precios alimentarios y la actual crisis económica. (ver informe)

Este año, debido principalmente a los vaivenes de la crisis económica combinados con precios a menudo muy altos a nivel nacional, se espera que el número de víctimas del hambre aumente en conjunto cerca del once por ciento, según previsiones de la FAO basadas en los análisis del Departamento de Agricultura de EE.UU.

Casi toda la población desnutrida del planeta vive en países en desarrollo. En Asia y el Pacífico se calcula que unos 642 millones de personas sufren hambre crónica, 265 millones en África subsahariana, 53 millones en Latinoamérica y el Caribe, 42 millones en África del norte y Oriente medio y 15 millones en los países desarrollados.

Atrapados por la crisis

Los pobres urbanos serán probablemente los que tengan más dificultades para hacer frente a la recesión mundial, ya que el descenso de la demanda de exportaciones y la reducción de la inversión extranjera directa causarán un aumento del desempleo urbano. Pero las zonas rurales tampoco se librarán, ya que millones de residentes urbanos se verán forzados a regresar al campo, obligando en muchos casos a los pobres rurales a tener que compartir esta carga.

Algunos países en desarrollo se enfrentan también al hecho de que las remesas que los emigrantes envían a sus hogares han descendido de forma notable este año, con la consiguiente disminución de entrada de divisas y de ingresos para las familias. La disminución de las remesas y el recorte previsto en la ayuda oficial al desarrollo limitará aún más la posibilidad de que los países accedan a capital para sostener la producción y crear redes de seguridad y sistemas de protección social para los pobres.

A diferencia de crisis anteriores, los países en desarrollo tienen menos capacidad de maniobra para adaptarse al rápido deterioro del contexto económico, ya que las turbulencias afectan prácticamente a todo el mundo de forma más o menos simultánea. Las oportunidades para mecanismos reparadores, como la devaluación de la moneda o conseguir préstamos en el mercado internacional de capitales, por ejemplo, para ajustarse a los vaivenes macroeconómicos, son más limitadas en una situación de crisis mundial.

La crisis económica se produce además a continuación de la crisis alimentaria y energética de 2006-08. Mientras que los precios de alimentos han bajado de forma sustancial en los últimos meses en los mercados mundiales, a nivel doméstico en los países en desarrollo este descenso se ha producido de forma más lenta. Los precios han permanecido de media un 24 por ciento más elevados en términos reales a finales de 2008, en comparación con 2006. Para los consumidores pobres, que gastan hasta un 60 por ciento más de sus ingresos en alimentos básicos, ello supone una fuerte reducción de su poder adquisitivo efectivo. Hay que señalar además que si bien bajaron, los precios internacionales de los alimentos básicos son todavía un 24 por ciento más altos que en 2006 y un 33 por ciento más elevados que en 2005.

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