Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Food security: India ranks lower than Rwanda

India 67th In Global Hunger Index Among 81 Countries With Worst Figures

Times Insight Group

New Delhi: India’s food security situation continues to rank as “alarming” according to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index, 2011. It ranks 67 of the 81 countries of the world with the worst food security status. This means that there are only 14 countries in the world whose people have a worse nutritional status.

 The GHI is composed of three equally weighted indicators — the proportion of the population that is undernourished, the proportion of children who are underweight and under-five child mortality.
India’s GHI for 2011 was 23.7 — lower than it was last year, but higher than it was 15 years ago – giving it a rank of 67. Pakistan, Nepal, Rwanda and Sudan all did better than India, while Bangladesh, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the countries that did worse.
 While the DRC is the only country whose food security situation has deteriorated in the last ten years, India has the ignominy of being among the countries with the least improvement in the same period. It has however moved from having an “extremely alarming” food security situation – the worst grade given by IFPRI – to “alarming”, that is, having a GHI between 20 and 29.9. China, Iran and Brazil are among the countries that have more than halved their GHI scores over the last decade.
 The UPA government was not able to introduce a Food Security Bill in the monsoon session and there is little agreement yet over who qualifies as poor enough to receive subsidized food grain.
The IFPRI report notes that there is growing volatility in global food markets which it attributes to three factors: “increasing use of food crops for biofuels, extreme weather conditions and climate change, and increased volume of trading in commodity futures markets. These factors are exacerbated by highly concentrated export markets that leave the world’s staple food importers dependent on just a few countries, a historically low level of grain reserves, and a lack of timely information about the world food system that could help prevent overreaction to moderate shifts in supply and demand.”

   “The poorest and most vulnerable people bear the heaviest burden when food prices spike or swing unpredictably,” said Klaus von Grebmer, lead author of the report and IFPRI communications director. The IFPRI report comes just a day after the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011, which said that food price volatility is likely to increase over the next decade.

Source: Times of India (12th October)


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