Thursday, October 13, 2011

India Among Most Vulnerable, Says Global Hunger Report


ActionAid's global hunger scorecard places India at the seventh position on the climate and hunger vulnerability index.

India is ranked ahead of Pakistan, Nigeria and 21 other countries for its vulnerability in being able to feed and grow food, says a new ActionAid study titled, “On the Brink: Who’s Best Prepared for a Climate and Hunger Crisis?” The global scorecard places India at the seventh position on the climate and hunger vulnerability index.

This is not the only bad news for India as its ability to respond to this crisis gets worse ranking, below Nepal and Rawanda, at 18th position as per the report launched globally on October 10.

The world today confronts three interlocking crises - climate change, resource scarcity and food price volatility - which all pose major threats to feeding the future, says the report.

“With one-quarter of the world’s people living in hunger, residing within its borders, any improvements to India’s hunger levels could dramatically reduce global poverty and hunger. India is home to one-third of the world’s under-nourished children,” stresses Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid India.

“The pursuit of high-input agricultural intensification has directly threatened the depletion of many of the resources that have sustained it. Soil degradation, deforestation and water shortages are putting increasing pressure on agricultural production,” said Amar Joyti Nayak, ActionAid India’s Lead on Food Rights.

Echoing the recommendations of the report, Chachra added, “India needs to address the unfinished agenda of land reforms; and support to diverse sustainable agricultural systems and improving women’s access and control over land and other productive resources is key to arresting hunger and impact of climate change on agriculture.”

The issue of exclusion and social justice has seriously impacted access to state schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and this remains a major challenge for reducing vulnerability to hunger for poor in India.

ActionAid’s research shows that 1.6 billion people - nearly a quarter of the world’s population - live in countries that are highly vulnerable to climate-related food crises.

They have very high underlying levels of chronic hunger and child malnutrition. This, coupled with rapid land degradation, will make food production increasingly difficult as global warming intensifies. Only a few of these countries are putting adequate measures in place to assure future food security.

The Hunger Scorecard backed with in-depth surveys of the communities ActionAid works with, shows that these scenarios are no longer a distant nightmare. Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, communities are recording higher food prices, incidences of land-grabbing for biofuels production or other purposes, and increased vulnerability to drought and floods. Every rural community surveyed reported that erratic and extreme weather is reducing their ability to feed themselves.


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