WASHINGTON (Howey Politics Indiana) - U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar recently told the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, including Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner, the world faces a growing hunger problem. Lugar, a United Methodist, has made world hunger a priority this Congress.

"I have been particularly concerned about severe warning signs that indicate global food supplies may be at increasing risk over the course of the next few decades," Lugar said. "In 2008, the number of people living with chronic hunger reached an estimated 923 million. About 25,000 people die each day from malnutrition-related causes.

"Most of the chronically hungry live in rural areas of developing countries where they try to feed their families by farming small plots of land. Many of these households, especially in Africa, are headed by women. With a global population projected to reach 9.2 billion by 2050, the world's farmers must double agricultural production to meet growing demand.

"Many farmers in the developing world will have to do so in spite of degraded soils, changing weather patterns due to climate change, deforestation, and primitive farming techniques. Even while it has become clear that increasing agricultural productivity is vital to raise incomes of the poor and to meet future demand for food, the world's aid donors have cut back on agricultural assistance.

"In the 1980s, the United States allocated 20 percent of its foreign aid budget to agriculture. Today, that figure is just 3 percent." - Howey Politics Indiana