The number of poor in the world is rising, and the tendency shows no sign of slowing down, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in Brazil on Tuesday.
The number of poor is expected to rise by 100 million by 2015, in spite of the UN's Millennium Development Goals' target of halving the number by 2015, Jacques Diouf, the Senegalese head of the organization said.
Diouf was speaking at the FAO-organized International Conference on Agricultural Reform and Rural Development, which runs from Monday to Friday in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. Representatives from some 80 countries attended the meeting, many at ministerial level.
The eradication of hunger depends on political will, Diouf said, condemning the halving of rich countries' aid in the 1990s. Governments have to increase aid to the poor and those lacking land, he stressed.
UN data indicates that 852 million poor people are experiencing food insecurity, and 95 percent of them live in developing countries.
Diouf praised programs like the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) initiative promoted by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the joint efforts of Brazil, Chile, Spain and France to fight poverty.
The neglect of land issues would create conflict and barriers for growth as well as discouraging investment, he warned, saying that globalization has made the poor, especially indigenous people, more vulnerable, as business demands land, and the mineral, agricultural, and timber wealth that the land represents.