Thursday, February 26, 2009

India is atop the world hunger chart

The World Food Programme provides a ranking of which countries are the hungriest, and India tops this list for this year. The WFP says that 230 million people in the country are malnourished.

The Financial Times of India further breaks down the numbers.

According to the latest report on the state of food insecurity in rural India, more than 1.5 million children are at risk of becoming malnourished because of rising global food prices.

The report said that while general inflation declined from a 13-year high exceeding 12% in July 2008 to less than 5% by the end of January 2009, the inflation for food articles doubled from 5% to over 11% during the same period.

Foodgrain harvest during 2008-09 is estimated to be a record 228 million tonnes. However, the requirement for the national population would exceed 250 million tonnes by 2015.

India ranks 94th in the Global Hunger Index of 119 countries, the report said.

Brought out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the report points to some staggering figures. More than 27% of the world's undernourished population lives in India while 43% of children (under 5 years) in the country are underweight. The figure is among the highest in the world and is much higher than the global average of 25% and also higher than sub-Saharan Africa's figure of 28%.

More than 70% of children (under-5) suffer from anaemia and 80% of them don't get vitamin supplements. According to the report, the proportion of anaemic children has actually increased by 6% in the past six years with 11 out of 19 states having more than 80% of its children suffering from anaemia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With all the news you hear today about India becoming a dominate economic power on the world stage, you'd think their government would step up it's efforts to solve essential issues like Hunger. I guess it's arguable that by building up infrastructure to attract industry and foreign investment, rather than fight hunger in the short term, will allow an easier fight in the long term. However I still think that the government could be doing more. With my limited background in Indian history, my feeling might be that government officials might be shunning the poor due to the fundaments of the Caste system (although it is proclaimed to be gone), however I am ignorant on the subject. Bottom line is more should and could be done.