20 of the world’s poorest countries have “alarming” or “extremely alarming” levels of hunger with Burundi the worst affected, followed by Eritrea and Haiti, according to this year’s Global Hunger Index (http://www.ifpri.org/ghi/2012) which examines the problem of producing more food with fewer resources.
The cat’s out of the bag and it looks ugly for Bharat. The penury infested largest country in South Asia has 70% of the world’s poor residing in it. Half the population of the major cities lives, dies, procreates, and dies on the sidewalks. Its children are underweight, ranking below Ethiopia, Niger.
The Index bases its findings on:
- the proportion of undernourished as a percentage of the population (reflecting the share of the population with insufficient dietary energy intake);
- the prevalence of underweight in children under the age of five (indicating
- the proportion of children suffering from low weight for their age);
- the under-five mortality rate (partially reflecting the fatal synergy between inadequate dietary intake and unhealthy environments).
The 2012 index, The Challenge of Hunger: Ensuring Sustainable Food Security under Land, Water, and Energy Stresses, was released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide.
According to press reports the 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI) describes the level of hunger in Pakistan as “serious”. Neighbouring India which has touted its economic progress and other factors and and Bangladesh under the Awami League lag behind with “alarming” hunger levels.
Pakistan is a net exporter of food, leading with rice, fruit and vegetables and other grains. There is no reason for anyone to to be hungry in Pakistan. It is despicable that Pakistan even appears on the hunger index. The country has a huge base of productive arable land and a hard working people. It lags on the hunger index because of bad governance and lack of care by the rulers. There is plenty of food in Pakistan. The sad situation is that the ruling PPP has not made enough of an effort in providing the facilities to the rural masses who toil in the sun and rain to produce food. It’s a supply chain problem. There is plenty of food–the problem is income disparity and logistics. Much of the food is wasted due to lack of adequate transportation. Pakistan’s ranking get pushed down because infant mortality. Pakistan could quickly rise to the middle and top of the list if a government pays proper attention to transportation and health facilities.
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bharat should combine forces to tackle hunger by sharing seeds, and technology.
About 12.5 percent of the world’s population, 1 in every 8 people, is chronically undernourished, according to new figures unveiled by the United Nations’ food agencies this week. Most of these poverty stricken people live in Bharat.
The U.N. agencies said 868 million people were hungry in 2010-2012, down more sharply than previously estimated from about 1 billion, or 18.6 percent of the global population, in 1990-92. A majority of the world’s poor reside in Bharat.
South Asia is the other region that continues to suffer from the highest levels of hunger with India the hungriest. Bharat spends billions of Dollars on arms–while the country starves. Its useless expenditure in sending rockets to the moon and it purchase of fighter aircraft do nothing for the bulk of the population
According to the index, South Asia has the highest regional 2012 GHI score – 22.5 – thus the highest hunger levels of the regions covered. Yet compared with the region’s GHI score in 1990, its 2012 GHI score is 26 percent lower, indicating improvements in the region’s hunger situation.
Bangladesh, India, and Timor-Leste have the highest prevalence of underweight children under five – more than 40 percent in each of the three countries. India has lagged behind in improving its GHI score despite its much touted economic growth. In India, 43.5 percent of children under five are underweight, which accounts for almost two-thirds of the country’s alarmingly high GHI score. From 2005-2010, India ranked second to last on child underweight – below Ethiopia, Niger, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
- China has lower GHI scores than predicted. It lowered its levels of hunger and under nutrition through a strong commitment to poverty reduction, social security networks, nutrition and health interventions, and improved access to safe water, sanitation, and education.
- Bangladesh has overtaken India on a range of social indicators, including how fast it has reduced child mortality. According to the 2012 index, unsustainable use of land, water, and energy is threatening the food security of the poorest in the world. Hunger on a global scale remains serious with 20 countries having “alarming” or “extremely alarming” levels of hunger.
- Two of the three countries with extremely alarming levels – Burundi and Eritrea – are in Sub-Saharan Africa; the third country is Haiti.
Hunger is inextricably linked to growing pressure on land, water, and energy resources. Growing scarcity and degradation of farmland, rapidly rising incomes, and changing consumption patterns have contributed to an increasing number of international land investments or land deals. Many of these deals have targeted Sub-Saharan Africa, where land rent is lower, regulatory systems weaker and levels of hunger higher.
The 2012 index makes clear recommendations to improve food security under growing land, water, and energy stresses:
Secure land and water rights; support the newly adopted voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries, and forests.
- Phase out inefficient subsidies for water, energy, and fertilisers, in particular bio fuel mandates in Europe and the United States, and encourage market solutions that promote efficient use of natural resources.
- Scale up technical solutions and foster more efficient and effective use of land, energy, and water from farm to plate.
- Tame the primary drivers of natural resource scarcity by addressing demographic change; raising incomes and lowering inequalities; and mitigating and adapting to climate change through agriculture.
- Despite sporadic growth in some sectors, shining India the great Superpower has alarming levels of hunger–higher than Pakistan. Bharat is ahead of Nepal and at par with Bangladesh which also has “alarming” level of hunger.
“Large-scale foreign investments in land should be closely monitored. Local organisations are needed to secure transparency and the participation of small holder farmers whose livelihoods are impacted by land deals,” said Welthungerhilfe President Bärbel Dieckmann.
Water scarcity is exacerbated by climate change, especially in the severely water-stressed areas of the world, which are home to more than two billion people.
Flooding, drought, and environmental degradation threaten agriculture in many parts of the world. Rising global energy prices are a serious threat to food security, increasing demand for agricultural land and water for crop production which, in turn, raises food prices.
Higher energy prices also increase agricultural input costs, such as the cost of fertiliser and groundwater pumping and machinery, putting further pressure on prices.
- “Agricultural production must increase substantially to meet the demands of a growing and increasingly wealthy population,” said Tom Arnold, Concern Worldwide’s Chief Executive Officer.
- “Yet to avoid more stress on land, water, and energy resources, and to ensure that all have access to adequate food, that production must be sustainable and must prioritise the poor,” he said.
- Food security is threatened by government focus on short-term economic gains; uncoordinated land, water, and energy policies; lack of political willingness and action to design policies that increase efficiency and reduce waste of natural resources while protecting the poor.