Rebutting charges that food costs are rising as developing countries are eating more, India has said such countries still have high child malnutrition levels.
“An argument is made that large developing countries are over-consuming leading to increased food costs. Nothing could be further from the truth...Developing countries still need to battle chronic hunger,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.
In India, this is a major issue and the Eleventh Five Year Plan aims at reduction in malnutrition among children of age group of 0-3 to half from its present levels, he said at the round table on ‘Poverty and Hunger’ during the high-level event on the Millennium Development Goals on September 25.
Earlier this year, US President George Bush had said prosperity in countries like India is good, but it triggers increased demand for better nutrition, which in turn leads to higher food prices.
Before that, US Secretary of State Condollezza Rice had said that apparent improvement in the diets of people in India and China and consequent food export caps is among the causes of the current food crisis.
The finance minister said last year has seen major changes in the global economy with very high food and oil prices and the disproportionate impact of climate change jeopardising the gains against hunger, poverty and disease in many developing countries.
He said though India has 8.9 per cent growth rate for the past four years, it still has more than a quarter of its population surviving on less than a dollar a day.