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A UN agency targets 35% growth in aquaculture production by 2030 to meet demand and fight hunger

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization on Thursday set a target to further increase aquaculture production to meet a rising demand for seafood and to fight global hunger and undernourishment.

The FAO hopes to see 35% growth in the sector by 2030, according to a report adopted at the end of a three-day Asia and Pacific regional conference in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo.

Officials said the world's aquaculture production has increased by 54% since 2011 and remains one of the fastest growing agricultural producing sectors.

The new target is part of the FAO's “Blue Transformation” road map, which seeks to transform the world's aquatic food systems by the start of the next decade.

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It's projected that nearly 600 million people in the world will be chronically undernourished by 2030. But progress is expected in Asia and the Pacific, where the number of undernourished is projected to fall from the current 371 million to 202 million people by 2030.

Angela Lentisco, the FAO’s Fisheries and Aquatic officer, said the fisheries and aquaculture sectors “play a very important role in addressing food insecurity in the region,” and added that the FAO is helping member countries to develop this sector.

In Sri Lanka, the FAO has helped with several projects in a bid to improve Sri Lanka’s fishing industry, which plays a key role in the island nation’s economy and provides livelihoods for more than 2.5 million people.

The Associated Press