A person needs at least 1,800 calories a day

The cooking pots of the world show a great variety of food – for people's eating habits differ widely depending on the country, cultural sphere and climate zone in which they live. But, no matter where a person lives, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), he or she needs to consume at least 1,800 calories a day in order to maintain a healthy body weight and to be able to take an active role in everyday life. This amount of calories is supplied, for example, by 700 grams of bread or one and a half kilograms of rice. If a person's daily calorie intake is consistently below this amount, then he or she is suffering from chronic hunger. More than 800 million people in the world are suffering from just that.

Hidden hunger

The amount of energy we consume, measured in calories, is only one aspect of our nutritional requirements: for example, no one could live off fat alone – even if the amount of calories provided was sufficient. We need a balanced intake of nutrients, made up of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. If we do not take in all of these nutrients on a regular basis, then our physical and mental health will suffer. A diet lacking in these nutrients causes what is referred to as "hidden hunger". Around two billion people have such poor diets and therefore suffer "hidden hunger". Hidden hunger is particularly tragic for children, because in most cases the deficiencies they suffer from as a result of malnutrition cannot be made good at a later stage.

In total, some two billion people suffer from under-nutrition or malnutrition. And every day, some 8,000 children die because they do not get enough food, or enough of the right kind of food.

Proportion of the world population suffering from hunger

Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2013; 2014 Global Hunger Index



According to the FAO, the proportion of the world population suffering from hunger has more than halved since 1990 – shrinking from 23.6 per cent then to 11.3 per cent today. However, since the world population has grown in that same period, the number of people suffering from hunger has only gone down from 995 million to 805 million people in absolute terms.

The "ONE WORLD – No Hunger" special initiative

In 2014, the BMZ launched a special initiative called "ONE WORLD – No Hunger". This initiative draws on Germany's experience so far in dealing with food and nutrition security, and aims to scale up activities in six specific areas of intervention:

  1. Achieving food and nutrition security
  2. Preventing famines and improving resilience
  3. Introducing innovations in agriculture and the food sector
  4. Bringing about structural change in rural areas
  5. Protecting natural resources and restoring soil fertility
  6. Enhancing reliable and fair access to resources and land.

Additional funding to the tune of 625 million euros is being provided for these activities in 2014 and 2015. This means that the BMZ is investing considerably more than one billion euros a year in rural development and food security. In fact, in 2015, the figure comes to 1.4 billion euros.
The focus of these activities in terms of region is Africa. Nowhere else in the world is the proportion of people suffering from under- or malnutrition as great as on this continent.