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State Of Food Security And Nutrition In The World (SOFI) 2023 : Report

State Of Food Security And Nutrition In The World (SOFI) 2023 : Report

State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ (SOFI) 2023, a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has shed light on a concerning issue in India.

  • It highlights the growing disparity between the cost of a nutritious meal and the economic realities faced by a significant portion of the Indian population.

Highlights of the Report:

  • While global hunger numbers have remained stagnant between 2021 and 2022, the number of people facing hunger worldwide has increased by over 122 million since 2019 due to the pandemic, repeated weather shocks, and conflicts, including the war in Ukraine.
  • Approximately 2.4 billion individuals, largely women, and residents of rural areas, did not have consistent access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food in 2022.
  • Child malnutrition is still alarmingly high. In 2021, 22.3% (148.1 million) children were stunted, 6.8% (45 million) were wasted, and 5.6% (37 million) were overweight.
  • As urbanization accelerates, there is a noticeable increase in the consumption of processed and convenience foods, leading to a spike in overweight and obesity rates across urban, peri-urban, and rural areas.
  • Previously self-sustaining rural regions, especially in Africa and Asia, are now found to be increasingly dependent on national and global food markets.
  • The SOFI report also tracks changes in the cost of a healthy diet and affordability across regions.
  • Between 2019 and 2021, Asia witnessed the highest increase in the cost of maintaining a healthy diet, rising by almost 9%.
  • The growth in the number of people unable to afford a nutritious diet was highest in Asia and Africa, with South Asia and Eastern and Western Africa facing the greatest challenges.
  • South Asia, with 1.4 billion people, recorded the highest number (72%) of individuals unable to afford a healthy diet.
  • In Africa, Eastern and Western Africa were particularly affected, with 85% of the population unable to afford a healthy diet.
  • These two continents (Asia and Africa) accounted for 92% of the global increase in this statistic, underscoring the severity of the issue on the African continent.
  • By 2050, it’s projected that 70% of the global population will reside in cities. This significant demographic shift necessitates a reorientation of food systems to cater to these new urban populations and eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition.
  • According to the SOFI report, India has the lowest cost of a healthy diet among BRICS nations and its neighbours.
  • In 2021, a healthy diet in India costs approximately 3.066 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) per person per day, making it seemingly affordable on the surface.
  • A diet is considered unaffordable if it costs more than 52% of a nation’s average income. India has a low average income compared to other countries.
  • The report also highlights a specific case study in Mumbai, where the cost of meals has risen by a staggering 65% in just five years. In contrast, salaries and wages have only increased by 28%-37% during the same period.
  • Mumbai, chosen for its consistent data availability, serves as a stark example of the challenges faced by urban populations in India.
  • Comparing India to other countries in the report, it becomes evident that while the cost of a healthy diet in India remains relatively low, it remains unattainable for a substantial portion of the population due to income disparities.
  • In 2021, 74% of Indians could not afford a healthy diet, ranking India fourth among the nations considered.