ROME (AFP) - The international goal of cutting hunger by half by 2015 appears "even more remote" after 75m new people joined the ranks of the famished last year, a UN agency said Tuesday. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said high food prices have reversed the gains made towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Rome-based agency, said the number of malnourished people rose from 850m to 925m in 2007. During world food summits held in 1996, 2002 and last June, the international community underscored its desire to reach food security and cut the number of people suffering from chronic hunger in half by 2015. But given last year's dramatic rise, the FAO said: "The achievement of the World Food Summit goal of halving the number of hungry people is even more remote." The agency warned the number of people suffering from acute hunger has probably gone up again this year due to the continuing rise of the prices of grains and oil. Of the 75 million new people who went hungry last year, 41 million were in Asia and the Pacific, 24 million in sub-Saharan Africa, six million in Latin America, and four million in North Africa and the Middle East. Our Monitoring Desk adds: Twelve Indian states have "alarming" levels of hunger while the situation is "extremely alarming" in the state of Madhya Pradesh, reports BBC quoting a new report. Madhya Pradesh's nutrition problems, it says, are comparable to the African countries of Ethiopia and Chad. India has more people suffering hunger - a figure above 200 million - than any other country in the world, it adds. The report, released as part of the 2008 Global Hunger Index, ranks India at 66 out 88 countries. The hunger index has been released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) along with Welthungerhlife and the University of California. It measures hunger on three indicators which include child malnutrition, rates of child mortality and the number of people who are calorie deficient. The problem of hunger is measured in five categories - low, moderate, serious, alarming or extremely alarming. The survey says that not one of the 17 states in India that were studied were in the low or moderate hunger category. "Despite years of robust economic growth, India scored worse than nearly 25 sub-Saharan African countries and all of South Asia, except Bangladesh," the report says. The best performing state was Punjab, which has a 'serious' hunger problem and does less well than developing countries such as Gabon, Vietnam and Honduras. "When Indian states are compared to countries in the Global Hunger Index, [the central Indian state of] Madhya Pradesh ranks between Ethiopia and Chad," it says. India is long known to have some of the highest rates of child malnutrition and mortality in under-fives in the world. According to the Indian government statistics two years ago, around 60pc of more than 10 million children in the state were malnourished.   Nutrition experts say the abysmal record is due to an inadequate access to food, poor feeding practices and poor childcare practices in India. And now the rise in the global food prices has reduced the food-buying capacity of many poor families, making their situation worse.