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Level of undernourished people in SVG down – FAO

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The percentage of undernourished people in this country now stands at 4.5 per cent, down from 19.2 per cent in 1992, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.{{more}}

In a letter to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Raul Benitez, Assistant Director General, FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, extended congratulations to the prime minister and the government on their success in reducing “the number of undernourished population” over the last 20 years.

“Please note that this remarkable achievement has been recognized by the United Nations Agencies. The FAO stands ready to work with you and your Government in the development and implementation of a tangible agricultural and social programme, using a multidisciplinary approach to reduce undernourishment to zero,” Benitez said in the letter dated October 29.

According to a fact sheet provided to SEARCHLIGHT, the level of undernourishment in the country has been falling steadily over the last 20 years. In 1990-1992, 19.2 per cent of the population was deemed to be undernourished. This fell to 10.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2000 – 2002 and 2006 – 2008 respectively. From 2010-2012, the rate of undernourishment in SVG was 4.9 per cent, significantly below the 2010 – 2012 Caribbean average of 17.8 per cent.

According to the statistics provided, St Lucia (14.6%), St Kitts and Nevis (14.0%), Jamaica (8.7%), Haiti (44.5%), Grenada (17.9%), The Bahamas (7.2%), Antigua and Barbuda (20.5%), Belize (6.8%), Trinidad and Tobago (9.3%) and Guyana (5.1%) have higher levels of undernourishment than SVG.

The levels of undernourishment in Dominica (2.0%), Cuba (0.5%), Barbados (3.3%) and Venezuela (2.5%) are lower than in SVG.

According to the document “Keynote Paper: FAO methodology for estimating the prevalence of undernourishment” accessed on the FAO website, the FAO measure of food deprivation, which is referred to as the prevalence of undernourishment, is based on a comparison of usual food consumption expressed in terms of dietary energy (kcal) with certain energy requirement norms. The part of the population with food consumption below the energy requirement norm is considered undernourished (“underfed”).

The document said that the data for the assessment is collected using household surveys to find out the quantities of food products consumed by individuals in a representative sample of households in the population.

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