Affordability of nutritious diets in rural India
- A paper published by the International Food Policy Research Institute has noted that three out of four Indians living in villages cannot afford diet which can be considered nutritious.
- The paper finds that “surprisingly few” discuss the role of diets, particularly the affordability of nutritious diets in India.
- 45-64% of the rural poor cannot afford a nutritious diet that meets India’s national food-based dietary guidelines
- Among stiff problems that lend themselves to the appalling diet scenario in rural India are low wages and the significant structural problems facing India’s agricultural sector, the paper posits.
- Currently, India uses Consumer Price Indices (CPIs) to measure food costs.
- However, the paper states, “In poor countries such as India, CPIs are heavily weighted towards nutrient-sparse starchy staples, meaning that trends in the food CPI can be misleading from a nutritional standpoint.”
- In comparison, according to researchers, calculating the minimum cost of a recommended diet can give better insights into nutrition and poverty in rural regions.
- The paper arrives at the conclusion that ‘malnutrition is endemic in India,’ based on information on rural food price and wages gleaned from the 2011 National Sample Survey.