Developing countries still vulnerable in terms of food security
Posted Wed 16 Oct 2013, 8:14pm AEDT
Basket of fruit and vegetables Photo: Basket of fruit and vegetables, Feb 5, 2006. (Chris Johnson: http://www.sxc.hu)
A report by an agricultural research centre has called for greater efforts to boost food and nutrition intake for poor nations.
The 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) published by the International Food Policy Research Institute says that developing countries are now more vulnerable to shocks and stresses in terms of food and nutrition.
Today is World Food Day and the latest hunger index indicates global hunger is decreasing.
The 2013 world GHI score has fallen by 34 per cent from the 1990 GHI score.
However, 870 million people remain chronically malnourished worldwide
The research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute Derek Headey told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific poor people are more at risk of going hungry when climatic changes and conflicts happen.
“There’s good reason to think that poor people are going to be more vulnerable in the future, especially with climate change, but also (with) more volatile food prices in the next few years.”
Becoming food secure
One way to achieve food security is to carry out resilience-building efforts instead of handing out aid, according to Mr Headey.
“Traditionally, within development circles, there has always been a bifurcation between the relief sector… which is providing… short-term safety nets, preventing famines, preventing the worst kind of health disasters,” he said.
Mr Headey says developing countries have done well in preventing famine in the last 20 or 30 years.
“The relief sector has done a good job, but we don’t want to be in the business of providing relief for the next 30 years,” he said.
“We really need development investments to try and build resilience over the longer term.”
Countries like Bangladesh prove family planning helps stem the hunger crisis.
“They’ve reduced their fertility rate from something like seven children in the 1970s, closer to three children today, through very effective family planning programs and also investing in education for girls,” Mr Headey said.
“The country was running out of land in the 70s, 80s, even into the 90s, so they really had to do something about family planning.
“It showed that when you commit to that, you can make a big effort.”