India still has the highest estimated number of undernourished people in the world. The number of undernourished people in the country has increased to 196.4 million in 2014-16 from 189.9 million in 2010-12. However, in percentage term, the country has registered a marginal decline of 0.4 from 15.6 percent of its population in 2010-12 to 15.2 percent in 2014-16. The figures were revealed in the UN Hunger Report titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.’ The Report was released in Rome Today.
In terms of the highest number of undernourished people, India is followed by China. The country with world’s largest population has 133.8 million undernourished people, around 9.3 percent of its total population, the report further reveals.
The Asia Pacific region has 490.1 million people undernourished, out of its 39.7 percent are living in India alone.
The evolution of hunger trends in India, in particular, has a significant influence on results for the region. Higher world food prices, observed since the late 2000s, have not been entirely transmitted into domestic prices, especially in large countries such as India. Higher economic growth has not been fully translated into higher food consumption, let alone better diets overall, suggesting that the poor and hungry may have failed to benefit much from overall growth.
Most countries in Southern Asia have made progress towards the international hunger targets, even if the pace has been too slow for them to reach either the world food security or the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, including, for example, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As these countries constitute a large share of the region’s population, they account for the low overall performance.
A notable exception in terms of performance is Bangladesh, which has made faster progress and has already reached the MDG 1c hunger target, thanks also to the comprehensive National Food Policy framework adopted in the mid-2000s. Nepal also, has not only reached the MDG 1c hunger target, but has almost reached the 5 percent threshold. One more country in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran, has already brought the prevalence of undernourishment below 5 percent, and has thus reached the MDG 1c target.