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Global hunger crisis and high Debt

  • Published
    14th Mar, 2023

According to the special report by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), at least 21 countries — including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lebanon, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe were nearing catastrophic levels of both debt distress and rising hunger in 2022.

Key Points of the report:

  • Global public debt was at its highest levels in almost 60 years and countries had to choose between repaying debts and feeding people.
  • About 60 per cent of low-income countries and 30 per cent of middle-income countries were considered at high risk of (or already in) debt distress
  • The world’s poorest countries saw the costs of servicing their debt increase by 35 per cent in 2022.
  • Africa’s food import dependency has tripled in recent decades, leaving countries exposed to food price spikes like in 2022.
  • The report called for urgent action to provide debt relief and development finance on a scale to meet the needs of COVID-19 recovery, climate-resilient food systems and sustainable development goals.

India’s Hunger problem:

  • India has long been home to the largest number of malnourished children in the world.
  • The highest levels of stunted and underweight children are found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Some progress has been made in reducing the extent of malnutrition.
  • United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) paints a picture of hunger and malnutrition amongst children in large pockets of India.
  • The report shows the poorest sections of society caught in a trap of poverty and malnutrition, which is being passed on from generation to generation.

Reasons for increasing global hunger and related debt:

  • Due disruptions in Global supply chains and Inflation
  • Lack of Job Opportunities
  • Poverty
  • Population Explosion
  • Lack of estimated targets for schemes including Children and Women.
  • Other reasons being reduced soil fertility, fragmented lands or fluctuating market price of farm produce etc.

Initiatives to Eradicate Hunger/Malnutrition:

  • POSHAN Abhiyan
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
  • Food Fortification
  • National Food Security Act, 2013
  • Mission Indradhanush
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
  • Eat Right India Movement
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