World Food Day 2022: India Tops Hunger Charts in South Asia
India ranks 107th for hunger among 121 nations. The nation fares worse than all of its South Asian neighbors except for war-torn Afghanistan ranked 109, according to the Global Hunger Index 2022. Sri Lanka ranks 64, Nepal 81, Bangladesh 84 and Pakistan 99. India and Pakistan have levels of hunger that are considered serious. Both have slipped on the hunger charts from 2021 when India was ranked 101 and Pakistan 92. Seventeen countries, including Bosnia, China, Kuwait, Turkey and UAE, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.
|South Asia Hunger Rankings. Source: GHI/IASScore
India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height), at 19.3%, is worse than the levels recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and even 2000 (17.15), and is the highest for any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population, according to The Hindu newspaper. The child hunger situation has gotten worse since Mr. Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister of India in 2014. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi offered to "feed the world" in the aftermath of the Ukraine war. Within weeks of this pledge he ended making an about-face. On World Food Day 2022, the United Nations World Food Program has warned of another year of global record hunger looms amid food and climate crisis.
|India Hunger Trends. Source: GHI
|Pakistan Hunger Trends. Source: GHI
Pakistan has a score of 26.1 and ranks 99th out of the 121 countries on Global Hunger Index rankings. India's GHI score is 29.1 and it ranks 107th. Hunger could worsen in Pakistan in the aftermath of the worst-ever flooding that has destroyed wheat and rice crops in southern Sindh province. Flood waters have not yet drained from the fields and standing water is preventing planting of the Rabi (winter) crop now. Here's an excerpt of USDA Food and Grain report on the wheat situation in Sindh:
"Farmers normally begin planting the wheat crop in mid-October and November in Sindh and Punjab, respectively. Sindh province usually accounts for almost twenty percent of national wheat production. However, large areas of Sindh typically planted to wheat are still submerged, and it may be several months before the flood waters recede. With Sindh’s flat terrain, poor drainage, and current high-water table, flood waters are receding slowly. As a result, seeding the 2023/24 wheat crop in Sindh is likely to be delayed and some areas may possibly remain unseeded. Even where the waters recede, farmers are likely to face difficulties in wheat planting as the floods washed away on-farm wheat seed stock in many areas. Additionally, farmers’ purchasing power in the affected areas is severely compromised making it difficult for them to buy fertilizers and other inputs".
The number of hungry people around the world has shot up from 282 million to around 345 million since the beginning of 2022, and by mid-year, according to the United Nations World Food Program. “We are facing an unprecedented global food crisis and all signs suggest we have not yet seen the worst”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “For the last three years hunger numbers have repeatedly hit new peaks. Let me be clear: things can and will get worse unless there is a large scale and coordinated effort to address the root causes of this crisis. We cannot have another year of record hunger”.
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