Food price volatility is expected to increase making poor farmers, consumers and countries more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity, the United Nations warned on Monday.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its Hunger Report 2011 said demand from consumers in rapidly growing economies such as India and China will increase and further growth in bio-fuels will place additional demands on the food system.
An alternate hunger report of civil society group Action Aid listed India ahead of Pakistan, Nigeria and 21 other countries for its vulnerability in being able to feed its people and grow enough food.
“The global scorecard places India at the seventh position on the climate and hunger vulnerability index, the report “On the brink: Who’s best prepared for a climate and hunger crisis?” said.
“With one-quarter of the world's people living in hunger, residing within its (India's) 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 undernourished children,” said Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid India.
Unlike the FAO report, which has not given a new figure on number of hungry people in the world, the Action Aid report says 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.
The scorecard showed that countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are recording higher food prices, incidences of land-grabbing for bio-fuels production or other purposes, and increased vulnerability to drought and floods.
The FAO didn’t differ much saying that small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially at risk.
The crises may challenge the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger in 2015, FAO economist Jacques Diouf warned in the report.