BATHINDA: On this World Food Day, the reports for India and its food producers are discouraging, on different parameters. The country is raising voice over methodology adopted in determining Global Hunger Index (GHI) rankings while the food producers are raising voice for its survival. While the country is facing the severe beating over the low ranking of 101st out of 116 countries that have been ranked for combating hunger, the food producers are unhappy making claims that are not getting its due despite filling the coffers of food pool.
With a score of 27.5 on a scale of 100, India has level of hunger in serious category though it has improved from falling in alarming category, two decades ago. The union ministry of women and child development has objected the methodology of the GHI saying United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) devoid of ground reality, facts and suffers from serious methodological issues. There is no mention whether respondents had received support from government schemes during pandemic.
Against it, food producers of the country are on the roads for close to a year and are on warpath against the central government while vehemently opposing the farm laws terming these to be anti-peasant (food producers) and saying these laws will provide alarming loss to them which could further impact India’ ranking in combating hunger and nutrition.
The world food day was started to commemorate the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 1945. Since 1981 it started adopting a theme for the year with first theme in 1981 being ‘food comes first’ and for 2021 the theme is ‘safe food now for a healthy tomorrow’.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 2 talks about zero hunger. It says end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
The Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 was awarded to World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
“The GHI has shown the country its real face as where we stand in properly feeding our countrymen. The FAO says that 15.3% population of country is under nourished and many others don’t even have access to food and go to sleep as hungry. Against it, the government is not ready to provide remunerative price to peasants for producing food. It is due to hard work of peasants that India has reached to 27.5 score from 38.8 in year 2000 but despite all this the government is hellbent in punishing the farmers instead of rewarding it and want to provide benefits to corporates by involving them (corporates) in the agriculture sector. The country’ leaders should concentrate more on ways to find to combat hunger and work with peasants than to look otherwise”, says peasant leader Jagmohan Singh.
Another peasant leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan says peasants are ready to produce more and quality food if the government stands by them and provide various facilities which are being availed by food producers in various developed countries. It should not think of providing benefit to corporate sector only but look sympathetically towards its food producers.
Echoing similar sentiments aquatic food champion and 2021 world food prize winner Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted in an interview with TOI on July 28 had said that much of the food produced in the world is by small farmers and small landholders which is more pronounced in Asia. The governments need to ensure that the small holders have good facilities to keep producing food. You need to have instruments like insurance schemes or low production costs. The government and other partners need to ensure food production Is profitable for small farmers because no one will produce food if it is not profitable.
GHI is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at various levels. Scores are calculated to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, child mortality.