UN agency opens up access to largest database of hunger statistics

Free access to FAO database contributes to sustainable development

9 July 2010 – The world’s largest and most comprehensive database on food, agriculture and hunger is now open to the public, free of charge, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

Previously, it was possible to download a limited amount of information from FAOSTAT, but access to large amounts of data required a paid annual subscription.

The database contains over one million data points covering more than 200 countries and territories.

Hafez Ghanem, FAO’s Assistant Director General for Economic and Social Development, characterized the information as “an important tool to alleviate poverty, promote sustainable development and eliminate hunger,” voicing hope that economists, planners and policy-makers in the developing world can put the data to good use.

Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing FAO effort to provide easier and more direct access to its vast information trove.

“FAOSTAT is a powerful tool that can be used not just to see where hunger occurs, but to drill down and better understand why hunger occurs – and what might be done to combat it,” said Pietro Gennari, the agency’s Statistics Division Director.

“It’s especially designed to support monitoring, analysis and informed, evidence-based policy-making specifically related to rural and agricultural development and hunger reduction, the only tool of its kind,” he added.

The information can help arm developing countries with the intelligence needed to better compete in the global market, while it can be utilized by donor countries to identify specific sectors to target their aid.

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