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FAO: Hunger combat in L. America goes back

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SANTIAGO, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday that the fight against hunger in Latin America went back when people suffering from hunger in the region went up from 45 million to 53 million.

In a statement published on Wednesday, FAO representative Jose Graziano da Silva said that the rise of food prices and the economic crisis took millions of people to a situation of food insecurity, and many affected countries do not have resources to address it.

Latin America reduced 8 million cases of malnutrition between 2004 and 2006, but "estimations show the advances in the last 15 years will be lost in only three years due to food prices and the economic crisis," he said.

Graziano said it is indispensable "to reinforce the cooperation between government, donators and international agencies to give emergency aid to the affected families, at the same time we can promote medium and long term actions to increase production capacities."

According to the FAO, the world hunger level reached the record number of 1.02 billion people this year, which means one of each six people in the world suffers from hunger.

Graziano said that "in Latin America and Caribbean, the people suffering from hunger reached 53 million, which means the return to the malnutrition levels at the beginning of the 1990s."

Graziano said that food prices grew about 52 percent from mid 2007 to mid 2008, and though in July 2008 the prices began lowering, the value of the world's cereal prices are higher than in 2005.

The factors which caused the food crisis continue to present - agricultural production remains low; the issues of water availability and land holding stay; the frequency of flooding and draughts is growing, Graziano said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the investment in agriculture development is lower than what is recommended by experts, Graziano said.

Editor: Li Xianzhi