The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says sustainable development cannot be realized unless hunger and malnutrition are eliminated.
In a report released Wednesday, FAO chief Jose Graziano da Silva said development cannot be called sustainable while nearly one out of every seven people in the world suffers from malnourishment.
He called for increasing agricultural production while preserving the environment to feed a population that is expected to top the 9-billion mark in 2050. To do that, FAO projects the need to increase agricultural output by at least 60 percent in the coming decades.
FAO says three-quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas, and most of them depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods.
The agency's report was released ahead of the U.N. Conference on Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro from June 20 to 22.
A senior FAO economist told VOA the U.N. food agency must make sure hunger eradication remains of extreme importance.
“A major issue for FAO is to make sure that the issue of hunger eradication is kept very high on the agenda, it's given a lot of attention. We're talking about improving, achieving sustainability, we're talking about the environment. One of the key objectives of the Rio conference is sustainable livelihoods, eradication of hunger and (achieving) decent livelihoods for people.”
The U.N.'s Rio conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 addressed world hunger and the Earth's food supply.
The FAO report calls for food consumption and production systems to “achieve more with less.” It outlines the need to shift to nutritious diets with smaller effects on the environment, and to reduce food losses and waste.
The agency estimates that global food losses and waste amount to 1.3 billion tons per year — about one-third of the world's food production for human consumption.