William Easterly Casts Doubt on FAO's Latest Hunger Figures

    The number of hungry people went down from 1.02 billion in 2009 to 925 million in 2009, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. But economist William Easterly doubts the validity of this estimate. Photo by: World Food Program

    Economist William Easterly raises concern over the validity of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s hunger figures for 2009.

    >> World Needs Additional USD75B Annually to Halve Hunger by 2015, Oxfam Says

    FAO says the number of hungry people shrunk from 1.02 billion in 2008 to 925 million in 2009.

    “That’s very good news, unless it didn’t happen,” Easterly writes in “AidWatch.”

    Easterly argues that the World Bank’s World Development Indicators are only reporting malnutrition figures up through 2008. Moreover, latest WDI data for seven nations, where FAO says two-thirds of the hungry are concentrated, are between 2005 and 2008, he says.

    “[I]s there any possibility that political pressure surrounding the hunger Millennium Development Goal (MDG) led to the creation of numbers based on the alternative methodology known as ‘wild guesses’?” Easterly asks.

    He adds: “[A] good test of how serious is the UN about the hunger MDG is that it would have devoted a lot of effort to improving the data on hunger.”

    Devex News – live breaking news coverage of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sept. 20-22 U.N. MDG summit in New York.

    About the author

    • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.