Hunger situation in India worse than sub-Sahara | india | Hindustan Times
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Hunger situation in India worse than sub-Sahara

If all the sacks of grains in India’s federally held stocks were to be laid next to one another, it could stretch up to the moon and back. Yet, India is among 29 countries with the highest levels of hunger, stunted children and poorly fed women, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)’s “Global Hunger Index 2010”. Zia Haq writes.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2011 23:00 IST
Zia Haq

If all the sacks of grains in India’s federally held stocks were to be laid next to one another, it could stretch up to the moon and back. Yet, India is among 29 countries with the highest levels of hunger, stunted children and poorly fed women, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)’s “Global Hunger Index 2010”.

Despite a strong economy that has been predicted to overtake China’s within three years by the Economist magazine, India ranked 67th among 85 countries in terms of access to food.

It also ranks below several Sub-Saharan nations, such as Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Sudan, even though per capita income in these countries is much lower than India’s.

The report points to widespread hunger in a country that is the world’s largest producer of milk and edible oils, and second-largest producer of wheat and sugar. So, India’s hunger is a problem of access to food, rather than output or availability.

A recent Oxford University study found 410 million people were living in poverty and food insecurity in just eight Indian states – more than in 26 sub-Saharan African countries. “Alarmingly, not a single Indian state falls in low or moderate categories; most states have a serious hunger problem,” says Anil B. Deolalikar, professor of economics at the University of California, Riverside, co-author of the India State Hunger Index.

The FAO defines hunger as the consumption of fewer than 1,800 kilocalories a day — the minimum required to live a healthy and productive life — which 200 million Indians lack.