Hunger in the news

26 February 2009

Food prices in Nepal will continue to remain volatile in 2009 if cost drivers which were responsible for the high prices last year persist, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said. Domestic cost drivers which caused prices to rise by as much as 40 percent on some food stuffs in 2008 were bandhs and blockades, high transportation costs and transport syndicates. The year-on-year food and beverage inflation in Nepal was approximately 17 percent compared to India's inflation rate of approximately 10 percent. "Global food prices and, more importantly, prices in India will also have an impact on food prices in Nepal," said Richard Ragan, WFP country director.

25 February 2009

The last decade has seen stunting among children in rural India fall and access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation improve, according to a new report released by WFP and the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). But calorie intake and chronic energy deficiency have remained stagnant, the report says. [...] “The report maps hunger and malnutrition hot spots in the country. It is an excellent tool for the government, policy makers and the civil society for identifying food and nutrition insecure areas that need specific interventions,” said Mihoko Tamamura, WFP Representative and Country Director for India. “It also suggests priority areas of action to help achieve the national and Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger and malnutrition,” she added.

25 February 2009

A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) report released last week says that a staggering 230 million—or 21%—of India’s population is undernourished. Poverty is one thing. Malnourishment is a different beast. Amartya Sen calls poverty the deprivation of basic capabilities—not simply lowness of income. Few deprivations are as detrimental as undernourishment, which has dismal instrumental effects on economic productivity and income attainment.

24 February 2009

India's malnutrition figures are not coming down despite a number of government programmes, says a new report released by World Food Programme. The research points out the need for a revamped public distribution system and greater public investment to address the wants of rural population.

23 February 2009

A new UN report says that many Indians in rural areas suffer malnutrition, despite government programmes. The report says that 40% of children under the age of three are underweight and a third of all men and women suffer from chronic energy deficiency. [...] The report was created by the World Food Programme and India's MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. MS Swaminathan, founder of the research foundation, said: "If you want to achieve food security for an individual you must bring three things together - availability of food, access to food - that means the purchasing power needed to buy the food - and finally the ability to absorb the food into the body."

21 February 2009

High economic growth rates have failed to improve food security in India leaving the country facing a crisis in its rural economy, the UN World Food Programme warned yesterday. India has grown at about 9 per cent annually over the past three years, making it the second fastest growing economy in the world. Yet researchers behind the WFP's latest report on State of Food Insecurity in Rural India said rural unemployment was growing and had worsened over a decade celebrated for rising prosperity.

21 February 2009

The United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) says that most rural Indians are victims of malnutrition, despite the introduction of several government schemes to end the problem. A UNWFP with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation report released here said that 40 per cent of children under the age of three are underweight and a third of all men and women suffer from chronic energy deficiency.

20 February 2009

Jaipur - World experts in salt and iodine deficiencies are working for protecting the 38 million children born at risk of iodine deficiency disorders and making efforts to ensure salt is iodised. The two-day meet of Network for Sustained Elimination of Iodine Deficiency (IODINE NETWORK) began here yesterday to address deficiencies that continue to have devastating effects on children around the world, a Network spokesman said. [...] Iodine Network members at the meeting include representatives from UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), the Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Salt Institute, EU Salt, China National Salt Industry Corporation, the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

20 February 2009

At a recent meeting on food security in Madrid, Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said that there are “almost one billion who are hungry, out of the 6.5 billion who make up the world population”. At the same meet, Josette Sheeran, World Food Programme’s Executive Director, said the bill for feeding the hungry in 2009 would be somewhere near $5.2 billion. No doubt, the times are tough. Especially for India, considering that the country was ranked 66th in a list of 88 ‘developing countries and countries in transition’ in the 2008 Global Hunger Index.

10 February 2009

Malnutrition has claimed the lives of over 50 children in Madhya Pradesh in less than six months. The main reasons being ascribed to the deaths are poorly-equipped government health centres and failure of government schemes to reach a majority of the impoverished, say NGOs. [...] According to the National Health Survey data, the number of malnourished children in the 0-5 years age group is 33,000, which is about 60 percent of the total child population in Madhya Pradesh. The state has with the assistance of the UNICEF and the World Food Programme unveiled several special schemes like the 'Bal Shakti Yojana', 'Shaktimaan' and the 'Bal Sanjeevani Abhiyan', which seek to treat severely malnourished children. "But one can make out the level of nourishment provided to children from the state of anganwadis. They lack basic facilities like seating arrangement, drinking water, separate toilets or space to cook nutritious food," Jain said.