The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has paid tribute to South Africa for its achievement in the fight against hunger.

The country’s achievement was recognised and celebrated during the World Forestry Congress, currently taking place at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, in Durban.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa received a Food Security Recognition Award from Director General of the United Nations FAO, Graziano da Silva.

For the past two decades, FAO has monitored progress made by 129 countries towards internationally recognized food security targets.

The 2015 State of Food Insecurity in the World Report states that the number of people who still suffer from chronic undernourishment fell to under 800 million for the first time since 1990.

However, one out of nine people on the planet still do not have enough food to conduct active, healthy and productive lives.

South Africa is one of 72 countries that have reached the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) hunger target that is, reducing by half the proportion of undernourishment between 1990 and 2015.

The country is recognized and acknowledged with eleven other countries for keeping undernourishment levels below 5 percent.

The other countries are Argentina, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Egypt, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Commenting on the award, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said: “It is a moment of honour and celebration for South Africa to have met the ambitious and highly needed World Food Summit targets to reduce by half the total number of undernourished people”.

Minister Zokwana assured that South Africa will continue to emphasize and prioritize elements that promote food security, such as inclusive economic growth, rural development and social protection systems, working with civil society and other non-state actors.