Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Sunday, November 29, 1998 Published at 15:36 GMT


World

Urban growth means more hunger, UN says

City dwelling: Unfulfilled hopes of jobs and better life

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has issued a warning that the growth of huge cities in the developing world will be accompanied by worsening food shortages.


David Willey in Rome details the UN's assessment on urban expansion
In its annual report, the FAO says the number of chronically hungry people in the world is continuing to rise.

The infrastructure needed for feeding massive populations - involving co-ordination between producers, transporters and sellers - is not keeping up with urban expansion.


[ image:  ]
By the millennium there will be 20 cities of more than 10m people, nearly all of them in the third world.

The number of impoverished city dwellers will have risen from 400m in 1990 to 1bn, and there will be an "anarchic spread" of shanty towns, sickness, corruption and inflation.

Optimistic aims

At the FAO world food summit in Rome two years ago, agriculture ministers said they aimed to halve the number of people going hungry by the year 2015.

These latest statistics show the trend is already in the opposite direction.


[ image: Some children begin life suffering from malnutrition]
Some children begin life suffering from malnutrition
Population growth continues unabated in the world's biggest cities, meaning more shanty towns, more overcrowding and more middle-men in food distribution.

Soon, the world's urban population will exceed the number of people living in rural areas.

Inadequate support

The FAO also warned that poor city infrastructure is linked to the costs of food.

Poor people spend up to 80% of income just on food, much more than rural families.


[ image: Street markets are the main places for buying food]
Street markets are the main places for buying food
City people also often have a worse diet.

Wholesale food markets are also often badly sited, costly and unfit for their purpose, the FAO said.

In Africa, they lack basic equipment, such as refrigeration, and in Latin America, markets pollute the environment with their waste and block city centres with delivery trucks.

The FAO stressed the important role played by small markets and street vendors who provide food for the poorest people.

In Caracas, Venezuela, for example, produce bought on the street represents a quarter of total household expenditure on food.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

19 Nov 98 | The Economy
Poor nations win $20bn in new loans

10 Jul 98 | Health
Third World faces self-harm epidemic

29 May 98 | UK Politics
Government urged to step up fight against global poverty

08 May 98 | World
Poverty threatens medical advances





Internet Links


UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

World Food Summit 1996


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Violence greets Clinton visit

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Bush calls for 'American internationalism'

Hurricane Lenny abates

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Russian forces pound Grozny

Senate passes US budget

Boy held after US school shooting

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

Sudan power struggle denied

Sharif: I'm innocent

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

India's malnutrition 'crisis'

Next steps for peace

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

DiCaprio film trial begins

Memorial for bonfire dead

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tamil rebels consolidate gains

New constitution for Venezuela

Hurricane pounds Caribbean

Millennium sect heads for the hills

South African gays take centre stage

Lockerbie trial judges named